back to article Windows Phone 8 INFLATED by Microsoft ... to satisfy lonely phablets

Microsoft has revealed a third update for Windows Phone 8 that is supposed to make the mobile operating system easier to use on beefy smartphones with six-inch screens. Windows Phone 8 Update 3, which will be rolled out over the next few months, will have a larger start screen with sizable tiles suitable for five and six-inch …

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  1. Only me!
    Windows

    1080

    Yep I buy 1080 and set it to 720 on all my devices. TV, tablet and phone. I just pay for the extra dots because I can!

    Or maybe I don't.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: 1080

      That's what HD TV and my PS3 seem to do (ok HDTV is 1080i and PS3 is 720p but same principle, neither deliver 1080p).

      1. Goat Jam

        Re: 1080

        "HDTV is 1080i"

        Not where I live. Every HDTV I have ever seen is 1080P.

        1. Kristian Walsh

          Re: 1080

          "Every HDTV I have ever seen is 1080P."

          The display may be 1080p, but the broadcast content it's showing is 1080i. The display hardware de-interlaces this to generate a 1080p signal, but it can't add any extra information.

          For 1080p video you need to look at BluRay or streaming. Although, that said, some streaming services' 1080p is at such a hight compression level that it puts the overall image quality around the same as good broadcast 720p.

        2. DuncanL

          Re: 1080

          Not where I live. Every HDTV I have ever seen is 1080P.

          I think JDX means that HDTV as provided by Freeview and Sky is only transmitted as 1080i (for bandwidth reasons and most people don't notice the difference). Almost all displays are 1080p capable, it's the source material that's generally below par. The only real source of 1080p is Bluray.

          1. Chemist

            Re: 1080

            "The only real source of 1080p is Bluray."

            You'd have to explain that to my 1080p/50 video camera which is now a couple of years old. Or indeed my laptop using the TV as an external monitor

            But yes I agree that there is confusion above about the content standards and what most new TV/monitors are capable of.

            1. Kristian Walsh

              Re: 1080

              " "The only real source of 1080p is Bluray."

              You'd have to explain that to my 1080p/50 video camera which is now a couple of years old. Or indeed my laptop using the TV as an external monitor

              "

              I would indeed, had I actually made such a preposterous claim. :)

              1. Chemist

                Re: 1080

                "I would indeed, had I actually made such a preposterous claim. :)"

                But I wasn't replying to you - I was replying to DuncanL who used the exact phrase

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Better late than never

                  "We've added support for a processor thats been out for half a year so we can play 'me too' to a bunch of phones that've been out for several months"

                  Yea, great job guys.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Better late than never

                    To be fair, Windows Phone doesn't need the latest CPUs. That's only required by Android because it is so inefficient. A dual core Windows Phone can outperform a quad core Android - both on general UI performance - and in the Sun Spider Java benchmark...

                    1. M Gale

                      Re: Android needs the power, yawn

                      Except there's cheapo Galaxy-series phones that have just as smooth a UI as anything Apple or Microsoft make?

                      Don't just believe me. Go out and test it.

                    2. Richard Plinston

                      Re: Better late than never

                      > and in the Sun Spider Java benchmark...

                      The Sunspider benchmark is _not_ Java. In fact WP won't run Java.

                      It has nothing to do with Sun, it is Javascript.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 1080

      Updated my Lumia 920 to GDR3 last night - worked flawlessly. Being able to kill running processes without having to continually go back via the back button is a nice improvement...

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Re: 1080

      From what I read, this is no different than Apple scaling up non-Retina apps to Retina after the iPhone 4 and Retina iPads came out.

      Devs will be getting hold of a dev kit to allow the development of true 1080 apps in a couple of weeks (although why they didn't launch it today, so that it would be ready when the Nokia Phablet comes is a different question).

  2. Zola
    Facepalm

    FFS, more Qualcomm?

    Microsoft would do better by adding MediaTek support than yet more powerful and expensive Qualcomm SoCs, considering that Windows Phone is only really selling at the low end.

    There are no problems with the high end Nokia Lumia hardware, it's lovely, the problem is that few in their right mind want a high end Windows Phone, but there do seem to be plenty of takers willing to shell out next to nothing on a budget model, which sees Nokia lose money on every sale thanks to the expensive insides.

    Adding support for ever more expensive Qualcomm kit is akin to fiddling about while watching Rome burn.

    No doubt MediaTek support will come in real soon after Nokia hand over the losses directly to Microsoft. It's a shame Microsoft never got it's act together sooner, supporting more reasonably priced SoCs, to help it's partners actually make money from Windows Phone - or maybe that was all part of the master plan...

    1. Charles Manning

      Re: FFS, more Qualcomm?

      "blah, blah, MediaTek, blaah, blaah",

      No, they would do better by opening up the bottom end of the stack so that it can be easily ported to any device.

      MS really need to learn that you do not improve sales of an OS by putting in constraints that don't need to be there.

      They really screwed over people with WinCE. IIRC, the fisrt version supported MIPS and SH3. The next version supported MIPS, SH3/4, x86, PowerPC. The next version dropped PowerPC but added ARM. These random roadmaps do not build any confidence.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: FFS, more Qualcomm?

        "they would do better by opening up the bottom end of the stack so that it can be easily ported to any device."

        One of the advantages Microsoft has is that the stack is much more secure than Android or Apple. Opening it up wouldn't be a good idea.

        Only one crack to date via a buggy Samsung App - and even that with full admin access can only modify the config - you can't change any binaries or it won't boot...

        That gives Microsoft a great position to wipe the enterprise floor with the remains of Blackberry.....Billion £ plus companies like Foxtons, O2, Delta, etc. are already moving in this direction...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FFS, more Qualcomm?

      The reason for more Qualcomm is simple, back-end agreements. How much does Microsoft make as a kickback? Microsoft has a long history in the kickback scheme. Qualcomm loves it, they sell more SoC's and Microsoft loves it as they get money from the OS licensing and then some extra from Qualcomm. Of course Microsoft and Qualcomm would never say that this is the case, but it doesn't take a genius to see that something like this is in place.

    3. Def Silver badge

      Re: few in their right mind want a high end Windows Phone

      Really?

      My (extremely non-techy) girlfriend just replaced her aging Android with a Nokia 1020. She is so happy she doesn't have to deal with all the bullshit that came with her old phone (random restarts, inability to update anything due to lack of memory, sluggish performance, etc). And I have to admit I am properly impressed with the quality of the camera. If the 1020 was smaller and a tad lighter, I would probably have bought one too.

      1. Irongut Silver badge

        Re: few in their right mind want a high end Windows Phone

        What piece of shit landfill Android did she replace? You can't compare an expensive Nokia with a cheap HTC. Try buying a Galaxy or other decent Android and you won't have these problems.

        1. Def Silver badge

          Re: piece of shit landfill Android

          She replaced the original Google Nexus. Which she bought shortly after they were released.

          Yes, it's an old phone. But it's also one she has owned since it was a new phone. She lived with Android for three years, and in the end decided she didn't like it. She also doesn't like iOS that much (we have a couple of iPads at home) either. She liked the look of Windows Phone (I have an HTC 8X) and wanted something which could also replace her middle-aged digital camera (a Canon something-or-other which is also about three years old).

          So far, she's extremely happy with her choice.

          Just before getting the Nokia, she was on vacation recently with a close friend who seems to love everything Android - she (the friend) has an Android phone, and a reasonably new Android tablet. After using the iPad at home, my girlfriend was shocked at how bad the Android tablet was at pretty much everything.

      2. magnetik
        Stop

        Re: few in their right mind want a high end Windows Phone

        My (extremely non-techy) girlfriend just replaced her aging Android with a Nokia 1020 ... all the bullshit that came with her old phone (random restarts, inability to update anything due to lack of memory, sluggish performance, etc)

        That tells us nothing, except that her old phone is probably a piece of junk. Most likely she'd be just as pleased if she'd upgraded to the likes of an S4.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FFS, more Qualcomm?

      "the problem is that few in their right mind want a high end Windows "

      The Lumia 1020 has by far the best camera money can buy on a Smartphone. The 925 is pretty close too....People care about those things - word will spread....

      Don't confuse expected volume at the low end with desirability at the high end - which has a matching price tag....For instance Ferrari don't sell too many cars, but it doesn't mean they are not desirable....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: FFS, more Qualcomm?

        "The Lumia 1020 has by far the best camera money can buy on a Smartphone."

        Wrong, so wrong. It has the same camera as the Pureview 808; which came out before the 1020.

        1. Richard Plinston

          Re: FFS, more Qualcomm?

          > Wrong, so wrong. It has the same camera as the Pureview 808; which came out before the 1020.

          Wrong, so wrong. The 1020 camera has no parts in common with the 808. The 1020 sensor is physically smaller,. the lens is different, the stability is done differently. The software is different. The result is often not as good as the 808's.

          In summary the 1020 is, for some, not as good as the 808's. Some other phone cameras are better in many respects, such as Samsung's Zoom with has true optical zoom* and dynamic OIS.

          * The 808 and 1020 have digital zoom which reduces the oversampling by using smaller areas of the sensor. With only mild zoom levels it is using a smaller sensor area than the zoom, or indeed other compact cameras and phones.

          http://www.phonearena.com/news/Nokia-Lumia-1020-smaller-sensor-camera-than-808-PureView-but-could-capture-the-best-images-of-any-smartphone_id45238

  3. Paul Shirley

    "720P ought to be enough for anybody."

    Steve Ballmer and the WP8 team, sometime recently ;)

  4. poopypants

    ?

    Is there anybody left who writes phone/tablet code assuming a particular display resolution/aspect ratio? Surely one of the first things an app should do is find this out and adjust accordingly.

    Android devices have been doing it for years.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ?

      And Symbian even longer. Look at the Communicator series; two different screens with two different aspect ratios and screen resolutions. You could switch back and forth between the two.

  5. JDX Gold badge

    a screen-orientation lock button

    Hoo bloody ray!

  6. HollyHopDrive

    You can put lipstick on a pig....

    ...but its still a pig.

    1. asdf

      Re: You can put lipstick on a pig....

      Microsoft seems to finally be finding some type of niche as their market share though tiny doesn't round down to zero any more. Considering how attractive their consumer products are to breeding age people I guess they might be starting to sew up the Grandma market.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You can put lipstick on a pig....

        Maybe it is the Grandma market. But I suspect that they are selling to people who do not want to pay the Apple tax, yet who do not want to use the buggy, laggy, insecure abomination that is Android. This would include people like me, and I am no Grandma....

        1. hplasm
          Meh

          Re: You can put lipstick on a pig....people like me.

          Grandmas, Trolls & Fanbois, then.

        2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: You can put lipstick on a pig....

          Funny how most pro-MS folks are ACs?

          To add: I have no love of MS and can't see any special reason to buy one, but younger non-technical friends find the cheaper Nokias are "not bad" as smartphones.

          1. Roger B
            Stop

            Re: You can put lipstick on a pig....

            Just to stand up and be counted, pro-MS folk person here, Xbox 360, Windows 7, Firefox, Open Office type. No mobile phone, but if I did, it would probably be a Windows phone and no tablet, but, if I could afford it, it would maybe be a Surface Pro, although that's maybe overkill for emails and using Smartglass.

            Older, non-technical boss has an iPhone 5 to go with his Mac, 3 or 4 other people at work are on Android, but a few are thinking of Windows Phones.

            Did that sound condescending enough for you?

            1. asdf

              Re: You can put lipstick on a pig....

              >No mobile phone, but if I did,

              Which is exactly Microsoft's problem. Their fanbois don't tend to load up on consumer goodies. They basically let Jobs define them with the I'm a Mac and I'm a PC commercials from eons ago and still long after he is gone haven't really countered it successfully.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: You can put lipstick on a pig....

            Yeah, its a shame....

            I am a Windows man, always have been and have no issues in celebrating it.

            MY IT life runs pretty smoothly because of it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You can put lipstick on a pig....

        12% market share in the UK for Windows Phone, whilst not out in front isn't exactly tiny either....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You can put lipstick on a pig....

          "12% market share in the UK for Windows Phone, whilst not out in front isn't exactly tiny either..."

          If it had 12% maybe but it hasn't - possibly 12% of current sales

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: You can put lipstick on a pig....

      You can make a lot of money from pigs.... look at how they like to eat Apples...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You can put lipstick on a pig....

        The pig might be being cooked before that Apple is in its mouth.

    3. Captain DaFt

      Re: You can put lipstick on a pig....

      And this being MS, they keep putting the lipstick on the wrong end. :/

    4. RyokuMas Silver badge

      Re: You can put lipstick on a pig....

      You can try and have a reasonable discussion with a zealot... but they'll still be a zealot.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You can put lipstick on a pig....

        Happy to discuss ;-)

        My view point is (having been forced to use by work) is that its a crock of shit. While the interface is smooth (I'll give them that) its pretty bloody annoying doing anything and not customisable enough the way *I* want to work (other peoples milage may vary of course). Apps seem to take forever to load (relative to android and IOS) and I'm not a great fan of the live tiles (but that's my personal opinion) [I also hate them on my Xbox!]

        The only reason they are getting any traction is price. (And that's how android got into the market so I guess they learnt something there).

        But like I said, for me, these changes are little more than Lipstick on a pig. It still smells of pork.

        1. RyokuMas Silver badge

          Re: You can put lipstick on a pig....

          "Apps seem to take forever to load (relative to android and IOS)"... interesting, my experience as a developer on both WinPhone and Android is quite the opposite. I guess it comes down to what apps are in use and whether or not they are truely being "loaded" on the 'droid or just pushed into the background.

          "The only reason they are getting any traction is price" - I wouldn't say that's the only reason. The Nokia brand name still carries a lot of weight in some places, and there's also a brand perspective - Android has generated a significant amount of noise about malware and piracy issues (the price of being both an open system and market leader, I guess!), while Windows on the desktop is what your average business person (imagine the BOFH's boss, not someone IT savvy) knows. But yes, price is a major factor right now - and I think it will be interesting seeing if/how this picture changes given the current problems Blackberry are having.

          I've never really understood what people don't like about the interface. I'll grant you that the live tiles are distracting, but also have their uses (I like being able to see how many new downloads my apps have without having to fire up the Dev Center app, for example), and the tile-on-blank-background could be seen as bland. But ultimately, the only thing I'm really doing outside any given app is launching an app from a tile or an icon... which on both Android or WinPhone I can position on a page. So what makes the Android interface so much "better" for the average user (I'm genuinely curious here)?

          1. Dave K Silver badge

            Re: You can put lipstick on a pig....

            From someone who's used Windows Phone 7.8 (admittedly not 8, but does have similar icon views) and who owns an S3 as a personal phone, I find the WP7.8 interface looks bland (lots of single same-colour squares with no wallpaper, just a few live/different tiles to spice it up) and the fact that it's one huge stream of icons makes it more difficult (IMO) to organise the apps and find them. On my S3, I'm used to the main home screen being key apps and a calendar widget, then screens to the right being for entertainment stuff and screens to the left being for more serious apps. On WP7.8, that distinction isn't there as much and I found the screen more fiddly to arrange. I won't discuss other workings as I'm trying to just focus on the main interface here, but that's my opinion of it. I didn't hate the interface, but I preferred Android to it.

  7. James 51

    Title is too long

    "Microsoft also says it will be easier to allow handsets to act as wireless hotspots with Windows 8.1 devices via Bluetooth. El Reg would imagine this feature will be promptly limited by mobile network providers, who prefer to sell this as an add-on rather than bundle it in free"

    This sounds a lot like the bridge between the playbook and BB7/BB10 phones.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Title is too long

      Yes, and it looks like the Internet Sharing via Bluethooth PAN in Windows Mobile 6.1 (and maybe earlier...) - nothing new under the Sun.

      1. Matt_payne666

        Re: Title is too long

        Tethering is already supported natively in win pho8, no extra apps or network restrictions... unlike apple and android......

        1. Matt Piechota

          Re: Title is too long

          "ethering is already supported natively in win pho8, no extra apps or network restrictions... unlike apple and android......"

          It's native on my Android device (stock Verizon (Samsung) Galaxy Nexus, Android 4.2.2), not sure what you're using. I could see some carriers or device builders deleting it on the more customized images (Samsung or Motorola's "imporved" interfaces or other Carriers). Verizon (in this one very narrow regard) hasn't lost the plot: they charge for data and not much else (unlimited text and talk) so including Wifi hotspot just increases the chances I'll need more data.

        2. M Gale

          Re: Title is too long

          Wifi and bluetooth access point functionality (and USB tethering) is standard on any Android device with 2.3 or greater. Whether your carrier charges you twice for using it is another matter, and not dependant on your device or its OS.

  8. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Driver mode

    The Phone 8 update will also include a driver mode

    All my mobile phones have had a dedicated button to enable driver mode. It's called the off button.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Driver mode

      If your phone is your sat nav, its not very useful, if switched off.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Re: Driver mode

        But flight mode ain't just for use on airplanes...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Driver mode

          Yes, but flight mode doesn't stop reminders popping up, which would be distracting when driving. It also doesn't allow for automatic "I'm driving at the moment, but will get back to you as soon as I can." SMS messages to be sent to the caller.

          This is a good idea and it seems that people are desperate to rubbish it because it's not been thought up by Apple or Google.

          1. Moosh

            Re: Driver mode

            My girlfriend's father has an iPhone 4 and has this feature. It's not new at all.

            1. Matt_payne666

              Re: Driver mode

              Does it? My iPhone 3, 3gs, 4, girlfriends 4s and 5 are unable to automatically suppress or read aloud incoming messages, switch the start screen to a locked down selection of giant shortcuts when you place it in a cradle... my Lumina 920 can... maybe your girlfriends father has a windows phone....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Driver mode

      "It's called the off button."

      It can't be off if it's charging though - e.g. in a car mount. As soon as you connect it to the charger, it turns on...

      1. M Gale

        Re: Driver mode

        None of my droid devices have ever fully booted when you plug the charger in. The most that will happen is a few seconds while some kind of bare-bones bootstrap gets it into a state to display a battery charge level on the screen, which then switches off again with only an LED letting you know there is any life in the beast.

        Unless of course the reason it switched off last is because the battery ran flat. In that case the device might come (fully) back on again after a percent or two of battery charge. This is how iPhones work too. This isn't plugging the charger in after switching the device off though, is it?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Microsoft also says it will be easier to allow handsets to act as wireless hotspots with Windows 8.1 devices via Bluetooth."

    So the speeds will be slow then! Even the BT SIG knows that BT is not designed for high speed transfers so a connection can be setup via BT but the WLAN is used. Microsoft would be better off just allowing the handset to allow WLAN to be used so more than one device could use the hotspot rather than using BT.

    Microsoft, at the bleeding edge of technology from the last decade.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It already does allow WiFi hot spots and has done since something like v7.1

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "So the speeds will be slow then"

      Bluetooth / NFC just initiates and manages the connection. The transport is still WiFi...

    3. M Gale

      Bluetooth may be slow, but it consumes less power than running a full wifi hotspot.

  10. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    screen-orientation lock button

    Finally. Anybody who's ever tried using a device like these to read e-books knows the absolute necessity of this functionality. And to stop the bloody screen rotating when being jostled...

  11. Duke2010

    Hmm

    I have WP8. I like everything about it except for the music player. Its terrible! I mean really terrible. Its totally basic and the sync doesn't work. Very disappointed that the sync is so useless. I have a Win8 desktop so you would think that it would sync perfectly well and easily with a Win8 phone wouldn't you? Well it doesn't, my Android tablet works more seamlessly.

    I was hoping the update would include a better music player but it looks like it doesn't. Back to Android and PowerAmp for me!

    1. Matt_payne666

      Re: Hmm

      I'm with you there, the phone is pretty good, but the sync is dreadful! What I would love would be a full phone backup and restore like the iPhone... I managed to break a phone and was quite disappointed to find sync reinstalled my apps, but with no data... and there is no way to backup in app data unless the dev builds it in... so my high scores on the couple of games I played all went to pot....

      Will make life a sod if I replace my phone with a new one at contract end...

    2. RyokuMas Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      Better that than the "must use Zune" method on the WP7!

      1. Phoenix50

        Re: Hmm

        What are you people smoking?

        Install the Windows Phone Desktop App > point it at your Music library > sync the songs you want.

        It even does iTunes library sync, which is where I get all of mine.

        Failing that, open the Phone in Explorer and drag-and-drop the albums you want - everything comes with it (including Album art). It will even convert music on the fly if it detects an audio format it doesn't like.

        Honestly. Amateur dramatics.

        1. Matt_payne666

          Re: Hmm

          That moves music, but doesn't backup applications and their associated data... the skydrive sync copies most phone settings, but if you just not to swap one phone for another your bang out of luck...

          When upgrading my old iPhones, I just did a full backup in iTunes, plugged in a new phone and hit restore... done and dusted in the time it takes to copy the data over... the new phone was a carbon copy of the old...

          When I did my Lumina, I had to spend ages putting my start screen back, resetting locations in weather and news apps, popping passwords back into tvguide and other apps, etc... a few days before everything felt normal again... even after I still found the odd app devoid of data or setting that needed setting....

  12. e8hffff

    Does anybody care about Microsoft any more. Like who's going to burn their fingers messing around with bloatware and pushing it to a mobile phone when they can get Linux variants, like Android.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You should probably do a little more research or actually use a device before making comments like this. There is less "bloatware" on windows phones than many android devices and said "bloatware" can be quickly and easily uninstalled.

  13. st4yr4d

    i wish they could build a feature into RT so that if your running win 8 on your home PC/Laptop linked to your outlook/microsoft account you can use your windows RT tablet as a wireless display running pro either by personal hotspot/wifi. This would mean that the limited compatibility + apps issue would essentially be voided as when out and people dont want the fully built pro apps. they mainly use browser, office apps or games. It would create the best of both worlds and mean that you can have a 50/50 windows 8 experience rather than the limited version you will be getting for such a high priced piece of kit.

    1. Brian

      It can do that, it's call Remote Desktop.

      1. M Gale

        I really wouldn't want to try playing video over MS-RDP. Well. In fact I have tried playing video over MS-RDP, I just wouldn't want to repeat the experience.

        The various Splashtop apps for Android, iOS and even that Windows Phone thing on the other hand, will stream the screen from your Windows, OS X or Linux box (courtesy of a no-charge Splashtop streaming server) right down to your tablet or smartphone. Works quite well over wifi, sort of like having your own OnLive server.

        It's proprietary, but no moreso than MS-RDP, and a damn sight more useful for anything that involves more than GUI widgets and the tiniest amount of screen changing between frames.

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