Blog

August 3rd, 2015

Young Asian woman  using smartphone in garden, looking on screen.While there have been rumours circling online about Microsoft’s plan to kill the Windows Phone altogether, the tech giant’s latest release for the Windows Insider Program - where users can sign up for an early build of the Windows OS - proves otherwise. Here we’ll take a look at the new build 10149 OS, a preview to Windows 10, and see if it’s worth installing or if you’re better off waiting.

Microsoft Edge

The first thing you’ll notice in this build is a brand new browser, Microsoft Edge. Microsoft Edge is set to replace Internet Explorer as the default web browser on Windows 10 PCs, smartphones and tablets. It is integrated with Cortana and OneDrive, and also includes annotation tools, reading mode, and the option to browse websites in either mobile or desktop view. Do note that Microsoft Edge has a new app ID, meaning favorites, cookies, history and reading-list items that you saved in the Project Spartan app will be lost after upgrading.

General UX improvements

Among the many refinements in this build is the clear and crisp Start screen. Visuals and icons such as volume controls are updated and are more responsive to use, and the navigation bar can now be hidden. Microsoft has also fixed issues like text notifications not appearing for incoming messages, as well as apps that couldn’t be installed or updated.

Cortana refinements

The build 10149 sees Cortana’s Notebook in its final stage, with combined Profile and Settings experience. You can now send an email by saying everything at once - such as who you want to email (you can give the names of multiple recipients), the subject of the email, and what you want your message to say. And with an Internet connection, you can also make corrections with your voice - though this only works for US English right now.

Flash to flashlight

One of the most popular requests of Microsoft from its users was to add a Flashlight “quick action” to allow you to turn your phone’s camera flash into a flashlight, and that’s exactly what they’ve added. To enable this feature, simply open Action Center and expand Quick Actions.

Improved Photos app

The update to the Photos app includes new capabilities such as support for animated GIFs (which works with phones with at least 16GB of RAM). Links to your saved photos, screenshots, and camera roll are also available on the Albums page.

Overall, the build 10149 looks to be an important turning point for Windows 10 Mobile. It is faster and more stable, and comes with plenty of improvements that enhance practicality for everyday use. To try it out, make sure you’re part of the Windows Insider Program by signing up here. Looking to learn more about the benefits of Windows Phone? Contact us today; we’re sure we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 1st, 2015

WindowsPhone_May1_CThe Windows Phone is Microsoft’s mobile version of Windows, featuring a slick user interface and many winning applications to boot. It’s ideal for those who prefer a functional smartphone at an affordable price. Since its first appearance in 2010, Microsoft has fixed several usability issues to make the Windows Phone an easier to use device than ever. So if you’re a Windows Phone user, you should look into these tips to make the most out of your device - you might be surprised by some of the things that your Windows Phone can do.

Projecting screen to other devices

You can show off your videos and photos on a much larger screen by activating the Project My Screen function located in the Settings>System menu. Your phone will automatically start searching for any nearby devices that support wireless screen projection. In addition, you can install Project My Screen on your PC and connect it to your phone using a USB cable for a portable projector.

Find My Phone

Afraid of losing and being unable to find your phone? Don’t worry - Windows Phone has a Find My Phone application that allows you to ring, lock, locate and wipe clean your phone from the official Windows Phone website. Check first in case you’ve lost your phone at home, as Find My Phone will make it ring even if the volume is off or set to vibrate mode.

Word Flow

Word Flow is a built-in application on devices with Windows Phone 8.1 installed, allowing for fast and accurate typing. Instead of typing each letter individually, you can slide your finger across the letters on the screen, and Word Flow’s intelligent system will automatically input the exact word that comprises the letters your finger came across. It will even display an emoticon relevant to the word you typed.

Data Sense

If you’re using a monthly plan for your Windows Phone, sometimes it can be difficult to keep up with your current data usage. Data Sense displays your mobile’s data usage, and allows you to set very specific data limits. If you want to save some bandwidth, you can also restrict background applications from using data and command your phone to compress images while browsing the Internet.

Storage Sense

The way Storage Sense works is very similar to Data Sense. Storage Sense gives you an overview of the applications installed on your Windows device. You can see a quick breakdown of the apps that are taking up the most space and delete any bloated apps, videos, or audio files that you no longer need. It’s a very handy tool for giving your phone a spring clean!

Volume Control

The Windows Phone has two different volume channels: volume levels for ringer and notifications, and media and app volume. You can take control of these two individual volume levels. In other words, you can listen to music or play games at a higher or lower volume than your ringer and notifications, and vice versa. To access this feature, tap the small arrow on the top right screen when you adjust your phone’s volume, and a new settings window will open for you to customize volume levels.

You’re not yet using your Windows Phone to its greatest potential if you’re missing out on these features. Want to learn how to implement the Windows Phone into your business? Contact us today and we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 27th, 2015

Hispanic Businesswoman Outside Office On Mobile PhoneIntegrating technology to reduce costs and increase productivity has always been a profitable approach for business owners. With the emergence of new technologies in recent years, businesses can take their pick from the best tools available. Among the best of these is the Windows Phone, the smartphone is packed with built-in functions suitable for various business activities. Here are some features you can implement in your business for better performance.

Data Sense

Nowadays, telecommunication service providers restrict your Internet usage to a few gigabytes of data on a monthly basis. When you’ve exceeded this data limit, your Internet speed goes down drastically, and you might even have to pay extra to maintain speed. Data Sense allows business users to stay productive while on the go by monitoring their data usage. You can set a monthly data limit and Data Sense will help you control background applications and save certain downloads for when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network. This way, you can save your precious connection speed for when you need it most.

‘Running late’ notification

At important business meetings, you don’t want to be the one seen as unprofessional for turning up late, especially if you haven’t been able to let people know what's happening. But even if you strive to be on time for every appointment, sometimes things are beyond your control. The ‘running late’ notification in the Windows Phone calendar app lets you send a quick message to your colleagues, to alert them to the fact that you’ll be late for a meeting. Simply do this by setting a default message, then choose a meeting in your calendar. The notification feature will pull contact information from your address book and send an email to attendees of your choice. Just make sure you have a good excuse when you do turn up!

Office Remote

This powerful application turns your Windows Phone device into a remote control for Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents. Business presentations are easier with Office Remote, which you can use to jump between PowerPoint slides and control a laser pointer to draw your audience’s attention. You can also use it to store your speech notes, and you can glance down to monitor your presentation time on the screen. Office Remote is simple to implement, requiring only Bluetooth and a small piece of add-in software that allows you to connect your Windows Phone and PC.

TeamViewer

What happens when you’re out of the office, and a client calls to request information stored on your computer? Well, the good news is you don’t need to rush to your desk. With TeamViewer, you can access your PC’s desktop right from your Windows Pphone device, as long as the computer is turned on and running the TeamViewer program. This can save you a lot of time when you’re outside and need to check a file or run a program on the go.

Mobile device management

If your business deals with confidential client information, then deploying Windows Phones to your employees can be risky. Microsoft has come up with Windows Intune, an application to centrally manage and secure your employee’s Windows Phone devices. Windows Intune allows the administrator to manage updates, control which applications can be installed, and protect the devices from viruses and malware.

If you want to integrate Windows Phones into your business, contact us today to get started.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 22nd, 2014

windowsphone_Dec18_CIf your business has integrated Windows Phones into operations, or is considering doing so, there are a number of steps you are going to need to take in order to be able to manage this properly. One of the first should be to rename devices so that they are easier to track. Here is how you can select new names for each of your devices.

How to see the name of your Windows Phone

Before we look into changing the name of your Windows Phone, you might want to know how to locate the present name of your phone. To do this:
  1. Open the Settings app on your device.
  2. Tap on System.
  3. Select About.
In the screen that opens you should see useful device information like the name of your phone, model, version number, etc. By default, your device's name will be Windows Phone.

Changing the name of your Windows Phone

To change the name of your phone plug it into your computer, which needs to have the Windows Phone app for desktops installed. This app can be found here. If you have already synced your phone with your computer, then you should have this app installed already. To change the name of your device:
  1. Plug your phone into your computer using a USB cord.
  2. Open the Windows Phone app via your desktop. With some systems this will open automatically.
  3. Click on Settings followed by Preferences.
  4. Scroll down to the section that says Name Your Phone and click.
  5. Input the new name of your phone.
When you plug the device into your computer from now on, the name should be different. The same goes for when you turn on BlueTooth - the phone's name will become the name of the network.

Another way to change your phone's name

There is another way to change the name of your device, if for example you don't have the Windows Phone app installed on your computer. To do this:
  1. Plug your phone into your computer via a USB cable.
  2. Open File Explorer on your computer. The easiest way to do this is to open any folder on your desktop.
  3. Click on Computer which should be in the left-hand vertical bar.
  4. Right-click on your phone. It should show a phone icon and the name of your phone (Windows Phone by default).
  5. Select Rename.
  6. Type in a new name for your device.
If you would like to learn more about using the Windows Phone in your office, contact us today to see how we can help.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

October 23rd, 2014

WindowsPhone_Oct20_CWindows Phone devices, while not as popular as other systems, have become a viable mobile system for many small to medium businesses. There are a wide variety of useful features available on the system these phones use, including the ability to move or install apps onto a MicroSD card. If your device has an SD slot, here is how you can install apps onto it.

Before you start moving apps to your MicroSD card, you should be aware that this feature works best on devices running Windows Phone 8.1. So, if you are not running this version on your device, the following tips may not work. Also, not every Windows Phone device has an expandable memory slot, so it is best to first check the technical specifications for your device.

Installing new apps to a MicroSD card

This option is best for when your device's main hard drive is full and you want to install apps while keeping existing ones. You can set it so that any future apps will be automatically installed onto your device's MicroSD card instead of the hard drive, by:
  1. Opening the Settings app.
  2. Scrolling down and tapping on Storage Sense.
  3. Tapping on the box labeled Store new apps on my.
  4. Selecting SD card.
Note that because the MicroSD card is removable from your device, you will need to have the card that has the apps installed on it plugged into your device in order for these to work.

Moving installed apps to a MicroSD card

If you have apps installed that you would like to move to the SD card, such as apps that you don't use as often, you can do so by:
  1. Opening the Settings app.
  2. Scrolling down and tapping on Storage Sense.
  3. Tapping on Phone which should be located at the top of the screen.
  4. Selecting Apps + Games followed by the app you would like to move.
  5. Tapping on Move or Move to SD card followed by Yes.
While this is useful, not every app can be moved over to your SD card as this is actually up to whether the developer has selected for their app to be movable or not.

If you are looking to learn more about using your Windows Phone and to find out what you can achieve with it, make the call to us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

September 25th, 2014

WindowsPhone_Sep25_CFor Windows Phone users, the Windows Phone Store is where you go to get the apps for your device. While there is an ever growing number of apps available, there have been reports of fake and malicious apps making their way onto the store. As such, it is a good idea to know how to spot them and what you should do if you discover one.

To begin with, we should make clear that app store hosts like Microsoft do have strict security measures in place that strive to keep malicious software off of stores and therefore users' devices. That being said, there is always a chance that an industrious hacker can subvert these security controls and get their app onto the online stores. To counter this, here's four tips on how you can spot fake or malicious apps.

  • Look at the name - If you are looking at an app on the Windows Phone Store, always look at the name of the app. Some malicious software that has made its way onto the Store has had a spelling mistake in the name. If in doubt, do a quick search on the Internet for the app and the correct spelling. Should nothing turn up, it may be a good idea to avoid it.
  • Look at the publisher information - All apps for Windows Phones require that the developer/publisher includes information about the app and themselves. If you are looking to download what seems like a popular app, take a look at the listed producer or developer, and then search on the Internet for their site. If the developer of the app appears to be different, or there are differences in the spelling, it is best to avoid installing it.
  • Look at social media stats - On the Windows Phone Store, below the install information, are counters for social media likes and shares. If the app information states it is a popular app and yet there are no social shares, then this may indicate it is actually fake. You should therefore err on the side of caution.
  • Look at comments - Lastly, look at the comments/reviews of the app. The Windows Phone Store uses stars to provide a quick overview of how much people like each app, but if you read comments you can quickly get an idea of exactly what people say about specific apps. If you see words like Fake, Doesn't work, etc. then it is a good idea to skip installing it.
While it can help to be able to identify apps, you should also know how to report apps that you believe are malicious or fake. You can do so by:
  1. Opening the app's page on the Windows Phone Store.
  2. Scrolling down and clicking on Report concern to Microsoft.
  3. Selecting from a list of complaints. Note: Pick the one that is most appropriate to the issue, for example if it is a fake app then select Misleading app.
  4. Pressing Submit.
The plus side of the Windows Store is that Microsoft does usually act quickly to remove identified apps, so the actual chances of you downloading one are fairly low. But, it is always better to be safe than sorry. If you are looking to learn more about Windows Phones and how they can fit into your organization, contact us today.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

July 31st, 2014

WindowsPhone_July28_COne of the biggest trends in the world of modern smartphones is that they are getting smarter. Most mobile developers are striving to make your phone even more an extension you and your life than ever before. A common tactic they are using is by creating personal assistant apps. Apple has Siri, Google has Google Now, and now Microsoft has organized a contender with Cortana.

What is Cortana?

If you're a video game aficionado then you will likely know that Cortana is the Artificial Intelligence character from the immensely popular Halo series. In early 2014, Microsoft announced that they were working on a personal assistant program for the mobile version of Windows 8.1 and Cortana was created.

The idea behind Cortana is that you use it as your personal assistant. When you want to know the answer to a query, simply ask and your ever-helpful PA will find the answer for you. As you use your phone and interact with the app, it will learn what you like and your interests and keep you informed about these preferences. You can even use it to place calls, check-out the weather, set reminders, and more.

The Cortana personal assistant has been released for all US users of devices running Windows 8.1 and worldwide users should be getting it by early 2015.

On a side note: One interesting tie-in with the app is that the voice of the Cortana app on your Windows 8.1 device is actually the same voice as Cortana from Halo! We guess that this is Microsoft's way of telling us that the Cortana app is much like the full-on Artificial Intelligence from Halo.

How to use Cortana

Before you start using Cortana, you should first enable it. This can be done by:
  1. Swiping to the left on your phone to open the app drawer and selecting Settings.
  2. Swiping over to Applications.
  3. Selecting Cortana.
  4. Sliding the bar at the top of the screen from Off to On.
Once you enable Cortana, you should see a tile placed on your home screen. Tapping the tile will open the app, or you can press and hold the Search button at the bottom right of your device. When the app is open, simply press the microphone icon at the bottom to interact with your device.

You can tailor the information and interests Cortana has access to by pressing the Notebook button at the top-right side of the app. Once you have set a few interests and have used the app for a short while you should start to notice more relevant information being displayed.

Recent updates

Microsoft has noted that they will be releasing updates to Cortana every few weeks and some of the latest include features that make the app much more useful. The latest big update announced two new features:
  • Nearby places - Cortana will now recommend places to go to nearby. Using data from apps like FourSquare, you will now be able to discover the best places nearby that are new, popular or have lots of buzz.
  • Local apps - If you enable this, you will get suggestions for apps that are relevant to your location. For example, if you go to Seattle you will get a list of recommended apps like maps, transit, etc.
These new features should be available now. To ensure that they are:
  1. Open Cortana.
  2. Tap on Menu (three bars at the top-right).
  3. Select Interests followed by Discover.
Looking to learn more about using Cortana or the Windows Phone in your office? Contact us today.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

July 9th, 2014

Web_July07_CIf you are like many other business owners or managers there is a good chance you have a clean and organized file and folder system on your computer. This is great, but what about your mobile device? It can be hard to keep your files and folders organized on mobile devices, especially on a Windows Phone. This is actually one of the biggest pieces of feedback from users about the operating system. In an effort to make it easier to manage files and folders on your Windows Phone, Microsoft has just released a new app.

About the Files app for Windows Phone 8.1

In late May, Microsoft posted an article on their Windows Mobile blog announcing that the Files app had been launched. The idea behind this app is that it allows easier viewing and managing of files and folders on your Windows Phone.

With this app you can:

  • Browse for installed files
  • Arrange files into folders
  • Move files or folders from one location to another
  • Open or search for files
  • Change the name of existing files
  • Share individual or multiple files with other users
While this app is a welcome development, there is one feature that makes it great: It allows you to also access and manage files on your device's SD card - if it has one. This means you no longer have to connect your Windows Phone to your computer in order to manage your files. You can do so directly from your phone.

Where can I get the app?

If you use your device for work we strongly recommend that you install this app, especially if you store files on your device. Find the app on the Windows Phone Store for free. Simply click the Install button in the left-hand ribbon of the page and select your device. You need to be signed into the Microsoft account you use on your phone. You can verify this by looking at the top-right of the page and hovering your mouse over Explore. If you are not signed in hover over Explore and click Sign-in. Enter the username and password of the Microsoft account you use on your phone and you should be able to install the app directly from your browser.

Alternatively, you can install the app directly to your device by:

  1. Going to the Windows Phone Store app on your device.
  2. Searching for Files.
  3. Tapping on the Files app icon (blue square with a white document icon).
  4. Pressing Install.
The app should start to download automatically and install a new tile on your home screen.

Using the Files app

To manage or view the files and folders on your device, simply open the app. You should see a screen open with the option to either look at the files on your Phone or SD card - if your device has an SD card installed.

When you tap on either Phone or SD card, you should see the file structure pop up. Scrolling up or down and tapping on files or folders will open them. If you tap on the square box beside each file you will see a number of options pop up at the bottom of the screen. Pressing the related icon will allow you to interact with that file. For example, if you select a file and press the Trash Can icon, the file will be deleted. You can select multiple files at the same time by simply tapping on the white boxes before hitting any of the action buttons.

If you are looking for a specific file, make sure you don't have any files or folders selected and press the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the screen. Enter the name of the file or folder you would like to find and it should pop up below the search bar.

Looking to learn more about using Windows Phone in the office? Contact us today to see how our services can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

June 5th, 2014

WindowsPhone_June02_CFor the majority of its history, Microsoft has been largely software oriented. Over the past few years however, the company has been branching out and producing hardware as well. One of the shining examples of this is the Surface tablet. While the previous versions of Surface have been met with mixed reviews, Microsoft is ready to try again and has recently announced the launch of Surface Pro 3.

About the Surface Pro 3 tablet

Officially announced on May 20, this newest version of Surface brings about a number of changes to the platform. First and foremost, there is a change in the device's positioning. While previous versions were designed to be direct competitors to the Apple iPad, the new version of Surface Pro 3 is being marketed as a highly mobile device that is meant to replace your laptop.

In fact, Microsoft has noted that they are targeting users, especially business owners, who have both a tablet and a laptop. The company is billing Surface Pro 3 as the device that will allow users to ditch the two, and instead replace it with one.

In pursuit of this goal, Surface Pro 3 has a larger screen and some advanced tech specs that provide it with laptop-level power, while keeping the overall portability of the modern tablet.

Technical specs business owners will find useful

Surface Pro 3 comes in five different versions, with the models being separated by which 4th generation Intel processor is included and the amount of storage space they have:
  • 64GB Intel i3
  • 128GB Intel i5
  • 256GB Intel i5
  • 256GB Intel i7
  • 512GB Intel i7
Aside from the processor, RAM and storage space, all versions share the following specs:
  • Size - The Surface Pro 3 is 11.5 inches wide by 7.93 inches high and weighs 1.76lbs.
  • Memory - The 64GB and 128GB models have 4GB of RAM, while the 256GB and 512GB models have 8GB of RAM.
  • Screen - There is a 12 inch screen with all models and a resolution of 2160 x 1440. This equates to a high resolution screen that should be more than enough for every user.
  • Connectivity - All models can connect to Wi-Fi, support Bluetooth 4.0, and have a full-size USB 3.0 port, along with a microSD card reader, and Mini display port.
  • Operating system - Surface Pro 3 runs a full version of Windows 8.1, which comes pre-installed on the device.
  • Accessories - There are a number of cases you can buy including the Surface Pro Type Cover which includes a full keyboard and trackpad built into the case. Combine this with the built-in multi-function hinge and you can use the device almost anywhere.
  • Battery life - Previous versions of the Surface had average, or slightly below average battery life. Because this device isn't out yet, we can't give an accurate number as to how long the battery should last. That being said, this is a powerful device so battery life will likely be closer to most laptops rather than tablets - anywhere from four to eight hours.

Should my business invest in this technology?

From the specs alone, the Surface Pro 3 looks to be a good investment for users who are looking to merge their tablet and laptop. Also, because this is a Microsoft tablet, users of the company's other systems and software, especially Office 365 and Windows 8, will be at home with this device.

If you or your employees are looking to be productive while on the go, and use Microsoft or cloud systems, this device could be the perfect business tool. The major downside to Surface Pro 3, as with previous versions, is the price, which starts at USD$799 just for the device, so you are looking at almost USD$940 per unit. The most powerful version - the 512 GB/ Intel i7 starts at USD$1,949.

Should you be about to replace your tablet and laptop, this could be a viable solution as the cost of replacing both could be more than, or at least similar to, the cost of a Surface Pro 3. That being said, this is still a new device so it may be worthwhile waiting a few months to see how people who purchase the unit like it, and how it can be integrated into your business better.

Where can I find one?

Because this tablet was just announced the other week, it actually isn't available to purchase just yet. You can go to the Surface website and pre order one now and as of the writing of this article, the i3 and i7 devices will be shipped August 31, 2014 while the i5 devices are scheduled to ship June 20, 2014.

If you can wait until the release, you should be also able to pick up the device from most major retailers and Microsoft partners who carry hardware. And, if you would like to learn more about this device and how it can integrate with your business contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 8th, 2014

WindowsPhone_May06_CThe new Windows Phone 8.1 is all about you. Whether you are in business, an IT professional, or just looking for a personal phone, this smartphone could fit your needs as it has fully personalized features. With the new Windows Phone 8.1, the way you run your business and the way you view technology could change and certainly for the better.

Every phone user desires a phone to reflect what they need a phone for; or how they use a phone. With this in mind, Windows Phone 8.1 was designed with customizable tools to allow users to creatively express their own individuality. Innovators in Windows even coined this, “the world’s most personal Smartphone”. So why is this? Let us first take a look at the screen.

A more personalized look.

Customization is the word to describe your phone screen if you have Windows 8.1 OS. Windows has made the Windows Phone start screen highly customizable by providing an additional column to give way to more tiles so that more can be seen, allowing ease in navigation. These tiles are also set on top of a customizable start background where you can add your favorite image or use the default options. There is also a new app that allows you to set up screen lock themes with tons of visual and animation themes available to choose from.

Superior streaming experience.

Aside from the highly customizable look of the start screen, Windows Phone 8.1 also offers an improved video and music streaming experience. Windows has added Internet Explorer 11, an upgraded browser that enhances video playback significantly. In fact, this new browser offers a playback experience like that of a desktop. It even allows for video and music playback even behind a locked screen.

Simplicity of navigation.

One of the most anticipated feature of this phone OS is its new notification center. This feature allows for users to manage all alerts from different apps by simply bringing them all to one location. It also has an action centre for easy access to settings.

Your own personal assistant.

What truly makes this OS a standout is Cortana. This voice assistant competes against Siri and Google Now. This feature is more than just a voice assistant; it can get to know your personal inclinations and update you regarding news and weather based on your location and preferences. Cortana behaves like a personal assistant by getting to know you the first time you interact with the feature and building a relationship by asking questions. Over time, Cortana will draw on the answers you provide and base actions on your pretences provided by you. Basically, Cortana detects what you care about, looks out for relevant information and even manages the phone volume so you can focus on whatever it is you are doing.

The Windows Phone 8.1 Operating System will be undoubtedly snapped up by smartphone users. This particular OS is available in Lumia 630, Lumia 635, and Lumia 930; it is also compatible to existing Windows Phone 8 OS users.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.