This week, Microsoft has announced the rollout of Skype group video calling , on all mobile platforms. They also released firmware fixes that address power management problems and Intel driver issues for the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4. On top of that, they have also launched a new smartphone with Windows 10 Mobile: the Lumia 650. To learn more about these events, as well as other interesting news, read this week’s recap:
Microsoft: the news of the week
These articles are this week's most important news in Microsoft's ecosystem:
Microsoft offers tepid support for Apple's battle with FBI - Apple's escalating battle with the FBI over iPhone encryption is gaining support from various technology companies. Google CEO Sundar Pichai chimed in to support Apple alongside WhatsApp founder Jan Koum. Now Microsoft is backing a statement made by the Reform Government Surveillance (RGS), of which Microsoft is a founding member.
Announcing group video calling for mobile phones and tablets - Microsoft started rolling out Skype group video calling on iPhone, iPad and Android phones and tablets, in Western Europe and North America. They plan to be fully available worldwide in March. You can view a demo of how group calling works, in the video below.
Hulu universal app now available for Windows 10 devices - Hulu launched their new universal Windows app. The app includes Cortana support and live tile updates, as well as other features that bring the app up to par with its counterparts on other platforms.
New firmware finally fixes Surface Pro 4, Surface Book bugs, but Microsoft should do bette r - Microsoft is rolling out new firmware updates for the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 that address power management problems and Intel driver issues. However, Microsoft doesn't state whether this addresses all of the complaints users had.
Microsoft testing new Outlook.com Premium email service - Microsoft is piloting a new version of its Outlook.com email, known as Outlook.com Premium. Outlook.com Premium seems to be different from the current ad-free Outlook.com service that Microsoft sells for $19.95 per year.
Smartphone sales for 2015 are in and it's not looking good for Windows phones - Gartner's figures for global smartphone sales were released this week and one thing is clear: it doesn't look good for Windows phones. When we last heard from Gartner, it was in the middle of November, 2015 and Windows Phone was down to 1.7% of sales. Today, Gartner reports show that just 1.1% of handsets sold in the fourth quarter of 2015 had Windows installed on them.
New Lumia 650 looks nice but misses Windows 10 Mobile’s best feature - Microsoft has announced a new smartphone running Windows 10 Mobile: the Lumia 650. As its name numerically implies, this phone sits closer to the low-end $139 (£100) Lumia 550 than the high-end Lumia 950 and 950XL. On the outside, it has a 5-inch 1280×720 OLED screen and an 8MP camera; the inside features a quad core Snapdragon 212 at 1.3GHz, 1GB RAM, 16GB storage, and LTE support.
Windows 10 Mobile build 10586.107 hits public release for Lumia 950, 950 XL and 550 - It looks like Windows 10 Mobile build 10586.107 is now rolling out to non-Windows Insiders after about a week of testing on the Fast and Slow Insider rings. Read this news article to find out about the fixes that it includes.
Microsoft still working with HTC on Windows 10 Mobile handsets - According to a Microsoft job listing, the company is currently seeking a Director of Account Management for Taipei, Taiwan - the location of HTC's headquarters. If you dig into the job listing, there's a section that directly points to "Windows 10 Mobile and Microsoft services" being "combined with HTC's devices".
Xbox app and Xbox One receiving updates today and tomorrow, respectively - Major Nelson (Microsoft's Larry Hryb) announced that the company is releasing updates to the Xbox app as well as to the Xbox One. Read this news article to see what's coming to the Xbox One.
Microsoft Introduces Advertisers To The Bing Network - Tuesday, Microsoft announced the launch of the Bing Network, marking the end of the Yahoo Bing Network. More details about what this means, are found in this news article.
Microsoft patents stylus that can scan colors and textures from the real world - A new patent issued on behalf of Microsoft shows that the company has been thinking about a new type of stylus, one that could identify the color and textures of the real world and use them on a digital screen.
Cool tips and guides
We would like to share several tips and guides from other websites in the tech blogosphere:
Top 10 Ways to Breathe New Life Into an Old Gaming Console - If you’ve been playing video games for any amount of time, odds are pretty high you have at least one console in your entertainment center doing nothing, and that sucks. Don’t let your old friend sit there and collect a gross film of dust and grime, give it a new life - or find someone who will. This article shows how.
7 Incredible Netflix Tips to Unleash its Awesomeness - These tips may be useful to you, if you are a Netflix subscriber.
How to Set Up, Tweak, and Use Your Android Wear Watch - If you have purchased an Android Wear watch, you should read this guide.