Microsoft Bing Android App Launching Soon?

The World’s biggest decision engine could be coming to Android soon. Microsoft is rumored to be working on Android app for their year old Bing search engine. Of course, Android smartphone users already have access to the Bing website from their mobile internet browsers. But considering that an app-based product will make searching via mobile phone easy, there is little wonder that Microsoft is working on such a product.

These speculations have come from Microsoft’s Bing Search Engine summit at San Francisco. Apart from the Bing Android app, Microsoft is also learned to be developing new mapping features and a TV listings application as well. No elaborate information was available on any of these products.

However, the word is that these products are already in the testing phase and an official launch is just around the corner.

Age Of Average Workplace Computer : 4.4 Years & Running Windows XP

It’s the proverbial half-glass-full scenario. At the recent Microsoft Worldwide partners conference, Tammi Reller, the CVP of Microsoft Windows has revealed that nearly 74% of the present day workplace PCs run Windows XP – the nearly decade old Windows Operating System which has since then been replaced by Windows Vista and now Windows 7.

It’s not necessarily because consumers are wary of the newly launched Windows 7. Rather, it is probably due to the fact that workplace computers have a longer usage life and at an average age of 4.4 years, most of these computers are presumably seen to have more lifetime – enough to have Windows 7 waiting.

While Windows Vista was indeed available close to 4 years back, the operating system did not fare well in the market because of several reported bugs that made many manufacturers to install their computers with the older XP. Also, with Windows 7 requiring higher processing speed, it is likely that these old PCs may not sustain the processing requirements of the latest OS.

So as for Microsoft, it is still seeing this as an opportunity to expand their growth. Steve Ballmer expects 350 million Windows 7 licenses to be sold in 2010.

Blue Bee Windows Mobile 7 Concept Phone Design Features

Microsoft lovers – rue not about the death of kin. A Chinese UI designer named Kingyo has released pictures of a concept phone designed for the Microsoft Windows Mobile 7 platform that Microsoft could take inspiration from.

Blue Bee Microsoft Windows Mobile 7 Concept Phone

The futuristic-looking concept phone named Blue Bee is specially integrated with social networking features and exploits the front-side real estate to the maximum by pushing the physical button to the backside of the phone. The Blue Bee ‘back touch’ button is programmed to do several functions like scrolling, moving ‘forward’ or ‘back’ on a webpage or return to the home screen by a double tap.
Blue Bee Microsoft Windows Mobile 7 Concept Phone
Blue Bee Microsoft Windows Mobile 7 Concept Phone

You may remember that Apple had filed a patent application for backside touch controls not so long ago. Nevertheless, the concept looks interesting and I would definitely love to buy one of these phones. How about you.

XBox Live – How Much Money Did Microsoft Make?

Microsoft may have just gotten to something here with XBox Live. The company has revealed that revenues from Microsoft’s digital media delivery service may have topped the $1 billion mark for the first time last year. According to educated estimates, the number is more likely to hover around  $1.2 billion.

Redmond has revealed that more than half of the company’s 25 million users paid subscription fees to access games like “Call of Duty : Modern Warfare 2“. The revenues from subscription fee alone is estimated close to $600 million. On top of this, Microsoft has also conceded that revenues from digital goods like movies and TV shows have topped subscription revenues for the first time last year.

These numbers are higher than what analysts had predicted. Microsoft is learned to have created an amazingly loyal user base for its digital content. Premium subscription services on XBox Live cost $50 a year and the fact that the company has gotten so many of its users to pay for access shows the loyalty that Microsoft has built.

Microsoft Lays Claim To iPad’s Page Curling Feature

The Courier may be dead, but we are still getting to see the innovations built by Microsoft back when development on Courier was still in its prime. A patent application filed by Microsoft back in January 2009 describes the page curl feature – exactly the way it is implemented on the iPad’s iBooks app.

In the application, Microsoft writes,

“One or more pages are displayed on a touch display. A page-turning gesture directed to a displayed page is recognized. Responsive to such recognition, a virtual page turn is displayed on the touch display. The virtual page turn actively follows the page-turning gesture. The virtual page turn curls a lifted portion of the page to progressively reveal a back side of the page while progressively revealing a front side of a subsequent page. A lifted portion of the page is given an increased transparency that allows the back side of the page to be viewed through the front side of the page. A page-flipping gesture quickly flips two or more pages.”

Microsoft Page Curl

To be fair, virtual page curling is neither Apple’s nor Microsoft’s innovation. At least as far as I can remember, the functionality was already available on the iPhone app named Classics.

It will be interesting to see if Microsoft indeed wins rights to this subtle yet interesting feature

Microsoft Windows XP Security Vulnerability Exploited By Malicious Code

A new security flaw has been detected on the older versions of Microsoft Windows Operating system – namely Windows XP and Windows 2000. The vulnerability will allow hackers to exploit the system and subsequently run malicious code.

In a statement released to the media, Microsoft Group Manager Jerry Bryant said that his team was presently investigating the issue. The company has also confirmed that they are unaware of any attempts by hackers to make use of the vulnerability so far.

According to Secunia, the flaw could arise due to a boundary error in a function that was employed on these versions of the Windows operating system. Microsoft has termed the vulnerability “moderately critical“.

Personalized Xbox 360 And Controllers From Colorware

There is nothing like personalizing your favorite gadgets with the colors of your choice. Colorware is a company that has been offering personalized skins and colors to popular electronic gadgets for a long time. The company has now announced that they have now included Microsoft XBox 360 S to their list of gizmos that they personalize.

You can now pick the color of your Xbox 360 from over 46 different color combinations. You may individually pick the color of your XBox’s body, faceplate, top, eject button, disc tray, accents, power button, USB door and controller.

And the price? Well, if you already own Microsoft’s XBox 360 S, then it is going to cost you $175. However, if you would like to order an XBox directly from Colorware, then the console is going to cost you $500. Not much if you think how much color these consoles can bring to your lives.

Microsoft Patents Courier’s Dual Display Design

Microsoft Courier may no longer be a reality. But the company has just been awarded a patent for the purported dual display design of the Courier tablet PC. Patent number D618683 describes the “ornamental design for a dual display device“.

Microsoft Courier Tablet
Microsoft Courier Tablet PC

Frankly, the design for which Microsoft has just won the proprietary rights is so generic that it could refer to any of the dual display devices that we have seen in the past. It is not clear how Microsoft intends to make use of the patent. Licensing the rights to every other company looking to make a dual display tablet is an obvious plan. But it would be great if we can still manage to see a Microsoft Courier sometime in future.

Price Of Microsoft Kin Phones Dropped

Verizon has announced that the carrier is slashing the prices of Microsoft Kin phones effective immediately. Consequently, Kin One is now priced at $29.99 while the other Kin Two handset will now be available online at $49.99. These two phones were priced at $49.99 and $99.99 respectively.

Microsoft has not had the success it may have wished for with the new Kin phones. The company made a high profile launch of the two handsets that were apparently targeted at the teenagers. While the phones came with cool social networking features, there were two areas where Microsoft and Verizon erred.

Firstly, Microsoft Kin never had the kind of applications that users would want. The phones did not support third party apps – unpardonable considering that low end Android handsets are now being made available at cheaper prices. Secondly, Verizon positioned the device for teenagers and tried to extract an executive fee from them. The phones came with full fledged data and voice plans that were not going to appeal to the young crowd.

It is being rumored that only 500 Kin handsets have been sold until now. While that is difficult to substantiate, we believe, the latest announcement is still unlikely to give the device any great push unless there is a major revamp on the data pricing front. What do you think?

Number Of Windows 7 Licenses Sold Crosses 150 Million

Microsoft has announced that the company has sold over 150 million copies of Windows 7 ever since the new operating system was launched in October 2009. With a selling rate of close to 1 license every second, Microsoft claims that Windows 7 is the fastest selling operating system in history.

The announcement comes exactly two months after Redmond announced the sale of 100 million licenses. Exclaiming that the success has been largely due to the interest shown in the latest OS among corporates, the Microsoft blog reads,

“Approximately 75 percent of enterprises are looking at Windows 7 for their organization, and of course people continue to be excited about the features and benefits of Windows 7, and the PCs that our partners are delivering for Windows 7”

The company expects to sell close to 300 million licenses by the end of this year.