Windows Phone isn't the most popular mobile operating system on the market, and that is a bit of a shame, especially since it's a good, even a great system. And more users, businesses especially, are starting to realize this and some business owners or managers are looking into buying Windows Phones. The problem is, if you already have a smartphone, say an Android, it can be a bit of a challenge to make the switch over. Luckily Microsoft has recently released an app that makes this process easier.
If you have an Android phone and want to move over to a Windows Phone, Microsoft has recently released an app that can help. "Switch to Windows Phone", available on the Google Play store, is an app that scans your device for installed apps and then links them to your Microsoft Account. It will also tell you how many 'matched apps' are available for the Windows Phone.
Matched apps are either the Windows Phone version, or a similar app that has the same functionality. It is highly likely that you will see more than 70% of your Android apps available on the Windows Phone Store.
After you have matched your apps on the Android device, you can then download the companion app from the Windows Phone Store, log in to your phone using the same Microsoft Account and the app will show you the available apps and allow you to tap on them to install them.
If you have synced your contacts, email and calendar with a Google Account on your Android, you can also log into this on your Windows Phone and the three should sync automatically. This means that switching is technically as simple as signing into two accounts on your Windows Phone.
Looking to switch? Download the free Android app from Google Play here. You can find the free companion app on the Windows Phone Store here. Check back next month for an in-depth look at how to switch to a Windows Phone from another system. If you are considering switching, or would like to learn more about how a smartphone can help make business easier, contact us today.
When looking to purchase new technology for a business, many business owners or managers will take their time to shop around and look for the best option available. Nowadays, most of this research is done over the Internet. As you probably know, everyone has an opinion on the Internet, and this can make it harder to figure out which tech is actually good, and what isn't. This is especially true for Microsoft's new tablet, the Surface Pro.
Here's a brief overview of the four main pros and cons of the Microsoft Surface Pro.
1. Windows 8
The Surface Pro comes with Windows 8 Pro installed. This is the full version - all the functionality of the desktop is on the tablet. For businesses this means that almost any program you use on your Windows 8 desktop will also be useable on the Surface Pro; you can truly take the office with you.
If you don't use Windows 8 at the office, but use an older version of Windows, most programs will still work because Windows 8 supports many legacy Windows programs (Windows 7, Vista and some XP programs).
2. You can connect almost anything
Unlike similar tablet devices, the Surface Pro comes with a full USB port which can accommodate almost any USB device, including external hard drives. There is also a mini DisplayPort which, with an adapter, you will be able to connect an external monitor or projector to.
Beyond that, the Surface Pro also has a MiniSD card slot which allows for up to 64GB of extra storage space. There is also an attachable keyboard case which connects to the tablet by magnets, and gives users a full laptop style keyboard and mouse trackpad.
3. The screen is gorgeous
The 10.6 inch screen of the Surface Pro has a resolution of 1920X1080 pixels, which means the display is full HD. When comparing it to the screen of the iPad 4, most users will not notice much of a difference. For the visual experts among you, the resolution translates to a 16:9 ratio, which means the device is widescreen, much like modern laptop monitors.
4. It's powerful
The Surface Pro has a third generation Intel i5 processor and 4GB of RAM. This is similar to many mid-range laptops currently on the market and is miles ahead of any other business tablet currently available. What this means for most business users is that they will be able to run almost all of their business programs without a problem.
1. Battery life
Most 10-inch tablets will have between 6 and 10 hours of battery life under normal use conditions - some Web browsing, email, Wi-Fi on, movie playing and screen on a normal level of brightness. The Surface Pro will get around four hours, or less if you are working with programs that require more computing resources.
The reason for the lower than average battery life is largely due to the bigger, faster processor and the HD screen. On the other hand, the battery life is good when compared to similar laptops.
2. Mobility is limited
This device is meant to be held in landscape method (think of an open book). This is evident with the kickstand on the back of the device and the fact that the attachable keyboard cover is only useable in landscape mode.
What's more, the device is quite heavy for a tablet, many users won't be able to hold it for long periods. User reviews have also shown that with the keyboard cover attached, the device won't sit on a lap, only on a flat surface.
In other words, if you plan to move around a lot, or work with the tablet on your lap, you're going to have a tough time of it. It will be even harder if you have peripherals attached.
3. Storage space is limited
Looking at the Surface Pro website, you can see that it comes with two hard drive options - 64GB and 128GB. It's important to note that these numbers are the size of the hard drive before Windows 8 is installed. After the OS is installed, users will have a paltry 23GB and 83GB respectively. Want to install Microsoft Office 2013? Take off another 8GB.
On the plus side, there is a MicroSD slot which can support a card with up to 64GB of space, and the USB port allows you to connect an external hard drive, but that is hardly ideal especially if you are looking for a mobile solution.
4. The price
The Surface Pro is by no means cheap. The 64GB version costs USD$899 while the 128GB version costs USD$999. Want the keyboard cover? The soft version (Surface Touch Cover) costs an extra USD$119 while the hard version (Surface Type Cover) costs USD$129. Add in the cost of an extra hard drive, and this device could cost over USD$1,000. A laptop from a reputable manufacturer with similar hardware could cost as low as USD$500.
Should I buy it for my business?
While the price alone will put many prospective business owners off purchasing this device as a tablet, it is a viable solution that could, in theory, replace a laptop. If you are interested in purchasing a Surface Pro, or would like to know more about how it could fit into your business, please contact us today.
When it comes to mobile operating systems, the major manufacturers - Apple, Google - have been releasing new versions of the software on a near yearly basis. This has led to many to expect updates in a timely manner. When Microsoft announced that Windows Phone 7.5 users would have to purchase a new phone to get Windows 8, people were understandably upset. Now that the number of phones using Windows Phone 8 is increasing, the question being asked is if these too will be left out of the update cycle?
While Windows Phone 8 is hardly more than six months old, the next version of the OS is rumored to be in production behind closed doors. Microsoft hasn't made any public announcements, or shown off any updates so far. However, from leaks and news channels we know that the new update is code named Windows Phone Blue.
This is inline with Microsoft's rumored update scheme for Windows 8 - also codenamed 'blue' - which has proposed yearly updates. Chances are that future updates to mobiles will follow this as well. This speculation about future updates has some Windows Phone users a bit worried. Understandably so, you wouldn't want to purchase a new phone just to have to buy another a year later if you want an upgrade.
Speaking at a recent conference Microsoft's Senior Marketing Manager put users' minds at ease by saying, "we're going to have an upgrade path going forward." He also noted that the hardware and OS capabilities allow for upgrades.
What does this mean for my company? If you use an older version of any Windows Phone and are looking to upgrade, but have been hesitant to look at a newer version because of the lack of updates, this news is somewhat reassuring. We would recommend waiting until Microsoft officially announces this is in fact the case before you do upgrade. However. Any confirmations will likely be in the late spring, with an update appearing sometime after, or at the same time as the PC update.
If you would like to learn more about the Windows Phone, contact us today!
One of the keys to the success of the smartphone is usability and this usually comes in the form of programs commonly called apps. These apps are what allow your phone to be more smart - more-like than being merely just a regular, run-of-the-mill phone. Because of this, platforms are often judged by the content available in these stores. If you're a user of Microsoft's mobile platform you might have concluded that the content can be a bit sparse, but it is getting better.
The Windows Phone store is Microsoft's version of Apple App store or Google Play. Like the other platforms, this is the hub for all things Windows Phone. Almost all apps for devices running the OS can be found here.
Yes, the number of apps lags far behind the two bigger platforms, with slightly over 150,000 apps compared to Android and iOS which both have around 700,000 apps. However, this is no reason to write off the platform. In fact, in 2012 the number of apps in the Windows Phone store increased by over 75,000. Not only did the store grow, but so did the number of regional consumer markets. At the beginning of 2012 there was 35 regional markets, and by the end of 2012 this number had grown to 191.
According to a recent blog post on the Microsoft Windows blog, Microsoft is aiming to create a foundation for their mobile system. They started late last year with the release of Windows Phone 8. In 2013 they will continue to add to this foundation vetting all apps before they make it into the store, in an effort to keep malware away devices.
Phones running the Windows Phone 8 OS offer a solid platform that users can trust. Who knows, it could really take off in 2013. If you're interested in learning more about how Windows Phone 8 can be integrated into your business, give us a call.
When it comes to smartphones users are spoilt for choice as to which device they might want. When it comes to the operating system however, most chose from four options. One of these platforms uses modified versions of the Windows OS - Windows Phone. The latest release is Windows Phone 8 - an extension of Windows 8. It's enticing users to switch over and buy new Windows phones. If you do buy a new phone, you will need to set it up to meet your wants and needs first.
Here's how you can set up your new Windows Phone 8.
Email When you turn on your phone for the first time you will be guided through the setup process and be able to pick your location, time and date preferences, etc. You will also be asked to sign into your Microsoft account. For most users this will be either their outlook.com email account, or their Office 365 account. The phone will pull all of your contacts, emails and calendar dates from Outlook and add them to the respective tiles. From there you can also sign into your other accounts, and the phone should take care of the rest.
While you don't have to sign in using a Microsoft account, it's recommended that you do so as it will give you access to the Microsoft store where you can download apps and allow you to create backups and link with Microsoft's other services. You will be given the option to create a new account if you want.
Apps One thing that makes smartphones smart is apps. Apps are a largely personal choice; look at the apps on any one user's phones and each phone will be unique. The issue with apps is that we use so many, so it can be a pain to have to track them down and re-install them when you get a new phone.
If you are upgrading from an older Windows phone you can sign into your Microsoft account and go to My Phone and select Get to your apps. A list of all apps you have installed, using that account, will be shown, and you can pick and choose what apps you want to reinstall. Simply click on the app and it will be downloaded onto your new phone.
For first time users, or users who want a fresh install, you can download apps from the Windows Phone Store.
Organize start screen The Windows phone experience is oriented around tiles. A good way to think of these tiles are like advanced shortcuts, as by clicking on a tile you will open the related program. New Windows phones will have a number of pre-loaded tiles on the start screen.
The beauty of these tiles is that they are customizable. Tired of scrolling down to reach your email tile? Simply press and hold the tile and then move it around to where you like. You can also resize tiles by pressing the arrow on the bottom right of the box.
Downloaded apps will be placed into the Apps list (accessed by flicking to the left on the Start screen). You can create a tile for an app by selecting it and pressing the Pin icon which is located in the bottom left. When you do this, the tile will show up on the bottom of the Start screen.
Tinker with settings If you want to customize your phone you're going to have to tinker with the Settings. At first glance, Settings can be a little overwhelming, but after a bit of tinkering, they become powerful tools. We recommend that you take some time to play around with the settings and make the phone yours.
Most users customize their ringtone, background, backup and screens. Settings can be accessed by flicking to the left from the Start screen and selecting Settings. You can set your Ringtone or sounds by selecting Ringtones + Sounds.
After you have set up your new Windows phone how you like it, you are ready to go. Enjoy your new phone and if you have any questions, please give us a call.
Microsoft has long been a software and peripheral manufacturer. Sure there is the Xbox, and the Xbox 360, but these devices serve a largely home-oriented market. With the recent release of Windows 8, Microsoft also decided it was time to move into the mobile market, and has recently launched their first tablet, the Microsoft Surface. The question is, is it any good for business users?
The release of the Surface Windows RT version - the Pro version is slated to be released in January 2013 - has seen largely mixed reviews, leaving business users much to think about. To help, here's a list of four pros and cons of the Surface (note, these only reflect the released RT version).
Pros The keyboard-case Because of a larger surface area, more glass and generally more to break, users want to keep their tablets safe from daily use. The easiest way to do so is with a case. Microsoft decided that a case wasn't good enough, so they put a keyboard on it. There are two different cases available, one with a soft keyboard and the other with a hard plastic keyboard.
These keyboards are essentially a laptop keyboard, complete with a trackpad and 'mouse buttons' that allow users to right and left-click. From usage reports, they provide good tactile feedback, so you will know you are typing, and generally work well once you get used to them. The cool thing is, both keyboards don't add a lot of dimension to the case and they snap in place with magnets. Kudos to Microsoft for developing such a cool system that enables users to almost replace the laptop.
Essential apps The Surface comes with Microsoft Office 2013 already installed, the first device to do so, meaning all of your Microsoft capabilities are available from the get-go. As this is a Microsoft product, you'll be able to access the cloud versions of Microsoft's programs pretty much from your first sign in.
Windows 8 RT Windows 8 is a drastic change from previous versions of Windows. The best thing about it, is the new User Interface is designed with touchscreen users in mind. When you use it on a tablet, it feels intuitive and unlike any other OS out there.
The display There's a lot of numbers associated with the display of the Surface. With a resolution of 1366x768, and a 10.6 inch display, this tablet is bigger than the iPad, but with a lower resolution. While the resolution is lower, it actually looks quite good and most users probably won't notice much of a difference when comparing it to displays of similar devices.
For the resolution enthusiasts, you'll know that 1366X768 is an aspect ratio of 16:9. This means the display is meant to be viewed in landscape mode. In other words, you will be able to see more, much like watching a movie in Widescreen.
Cons Windows 8 RT Microsoft and other tablet manufacturers have confused users. The main thing you need to know about the Surface is that it uses the RT version of Windows 8. This version was developed for devices using ARM processors and while it looks exactly the same as every other version of Windows 8, there is one major issue: RT doesn't support programs written for Legacy Windows systems (Windows 7 or older). That's right, pretty much every program written since the dawn of the OS won't work on Windows 8 RT devices unless the developer creates a Windows 8 RT version.
This one feature alone is enough to essentially cripple the Surface in terms of business use, especially if you still rely on older software or computers. If you operate completely in the cloud, this is less of an issue (not a problem actually).
The price The Surface doesn't come cheap. The base 32GB model costs USD$499, the same as the base iPad. Want that fancy keyboard cover? Add in another USD$120 for the soft cover (unless you get the 32GB version with it, then it's USD$599 for the tablet and cover). Want the harder, more keyboard-like cover? Add in USD$130. At these prices, many small businesses will find it hard to justify the purchase.
Lack of other apps Outside of the Microsoft related apps, the number of apps available is rather paltry. While this may seem like a major con, remember: This is a new platform, think back to Android, or even iTunes, when it first launched; slim pickings. This will likely change, with many of the 'essential' apps being made available on the Windows Store in the near future, if they aren't already.
The design The general design of the tablet is a thing users will either love or hate. Because of the resolution and aspect ratio, this tablet is meant to be held in landscape mode. Hold it as you would a smartphone and it looks really squished. Just looking at the tablet, you can see it's meant to live on a desktop. There have been complaints that using the Surface and keyboard on your lap is nearly impossible. This could be a problem if you need to do work without a flat surface.
Now, we aren't saying the Surface is a bad product, it could be a great replacement for casual users looking to get rid of their laptop. For businesses however, it's better to wait until the Pro version comes out, as from what can be found on the Internet, it sounds like the Pro could very well be a laptop killer. If you'd like to learn more about the Surface, or how tablets can be used in your business, please give us a call.
One of the most popular technical devices of the past five years is the tablet. It started with Apple and devices that used the Android OS followed soon after. One system absent however was a Microsoft OS tablet. Earlier this summer, to much excitement from IT, Microsoft rectified this by announcing a new tablet that not only uses Windows 8 but is built by Microsoft.
Microsoft’s recently announced tablet, the Microsoft Surface should be appealing to many businesses, especially those with mobile employees. If it does what Microsoft says, the Pro version will enable companies to ditch laptops or even desktops.
When the Surface is released, you can pretty much guarantee that the early adopters of technology in your company will be itching to try it out at work. This poses an issue management should address before the Surface is released.
To properly integrate the Surface into your company, you or your management team will need to make sure that it is a good fit. Beyond that, it’s a good idea to create a general list of approved devices, with Surface included, that employees can use. This can then also be applied to employees who want to bring their own device (BYOD) to work.
Managers need to understand all the related threats involved with mobile devices. Employees will most likely use Surface for some personal tasks which could potentially put work related information at risk. To minimize this, you should encourage employees to only use company approved apps while setting access rights to more important documents.
Beyond this, you should take the time to learn how to use the tablet yourself and learn what it can and can’t do. You can also learn about any security features and other benefits. If you know about Surface, and employees see the example that you set, they’ll be more likely to stick to a defined BYOD policy.
Surface holds lots of promise for organizations and if implemented correctly, it could improve productivity or help encourage employees to stay connected longer. If you’re interested in Surface and would like to learn more about it, please contact us.
Tablets are widely regarded as one of the new age devices that could change the way we interact not only with one another, but also with our computers as well. When they were first popularized by the iPad, many businesses noted that it would be hard to completely replace their computers with a tablet. Microsoft thinks it has the answer to this, and has recently introduced a new tablet.
The tablet market is a highly competitive market, one where the iPad reigns as king (for now) and every other tablet brings something different. In general, the goal of most tablets is to replace the computer/workstation with a highly mobile device. Microsoft’s Surface is one step closer to making this happen.
About Surface Microsoft announced two versions of Surface. The first version has a 10.6 inch display and will run Windows 8 RT, the tablet version of Microsoft’s new OS. The on-paper specifications indicate this will be a powerful tablet. The second version also has a 10.6 inch display, but will run Windows 8 Pro and be able to hook up to a variety of monitors. This tablet should be able to completely replace desktop PCs.
Both of these tablets, as they are, will be ideal for businesses already running Windows, which is the vast majority of businesses. Microsoft is working with software developers to make it as easy as possible for their desktop software to be turned into apps that can be run on the RT version of the tablet.
While these two tablets sound good on their own, it’s the accessories that really separate them from the competition. Surface will have a cover similar to the iPad 2’s - the one that doubles as a stand - the only difference being, Surface’s cover is actually a laptop keyboard complete with trackpad. Beyond that, the tablets also have a kickstand for support while using the keyboard, and the Pro model will come with a pen that can be used for navigation.
At this time, no release date has been announced, though it is expected that the RT version will be available when Windows 8 launches, with the Pro version coming three months after. This will most likely be in October for the RT version, and Q1 2013 for the Pro. As for price, Microsoft has said they will be priced to compete with other similar tablets, which should put the price between $200 USD and $700 USD for the RT, and upwards of $1,000 for the Pro.
We predict that the RT version will be a great seller in the public market, but its the Pro model that small businesses will really adopt. Who wouldn’t want to be able to pick up their office computer, close the cover and take their whole office with them, wherever they go. Are you excited for the Surface? How do you think you will use it in your company? Let us know below.
One of the most highly anticipated software releases of 2012 is Microsoft’s Windows 8. This OS will bring about many changes. To coincide with this release, Microsoft has recently announced a new update to its Windows Phone OS. Windows Phone 8 will launch with Windows 8, and brings with it updates that make it more competitive with other mobile platforms. There is one big downside to the OS though.
There are some great new features in the new OS that businesses will find useful. One being heavy integration with Windows 8. This means that program developers will be able to make a program for Windows 8 and easily convert it into a mobile app that can be accessed by users on Windows Phone 8.
Microsoft also noted that businesses will be able to better manage Windows Phone 8 devices. Basically, companies will get their own operating environment and will be able to control what apps and documents can be installed and accessed by users. This update should prove to be a viable and secure mobile OS.
It’s not all roses though, Microsoft also announced that users of Windows Phone 7 - anyone with a Windows Phone at this time - will not be able to upgrade with Windows Phone 8. In other words, the new OS is a completely separate environment from previous phones. If you want to upgrade to the new OS, you’ll have to buy new phones. For the near future, current users will be upgraded to version 7.8, which will have the same layout as the new version, but won’t be able to use Windows Phone 8 apps.
We strongly recommend that if you’re looking at buying a new Windows Phone, you hold off until the new OS is released. If you’d like to know more about Windows Phone 8, please contact us.
One of the essential features of any smartphone platform is where users buy, download and update apps. In general, the store can be accessed by users with different versions of operating system. Microsoft has gone in a bit of a different direction with their store, Marketplace, in the recent OS update, 7.5.
Microsoft has announced that users who are using a Windows Phone with an OS older than version 7.5 won’t be able to download, buy or update apps from their app store, Marketplace. It will still be available on older versions, but will be more or less useless. If you want to utilize Marketplace, you’ll have to update your OS.
How to update your OS If you’re not too sure what version you have:
- From the Home Screen (Start), swipe left to Apps.
- Press Settings, About followed by More info.
If you find your phone is running version 7.0 or earlier, you can update it by plugging your phone into your computer using a USB cord. You’ll need the Zune software for PC or Windows Phone Connector for Mac installed. Open the program and select Update now. Your computer will download the update, install it onto your phone and let you know when it’s ready.
If you’re already using version 7.5, there’s no need to update your phone, but there have been incremental updates released, so it may be beneficial to check for an update. If you’d like to learn more about your Windows Phone, please contact us.