Windows Phone 8.1 for Business


Following on from the consumer features (many of which will still be of use to corporate users), here is a post that looks more at the specific business features.

Mobile Device Management

Windows Phone 8.1 has a built-in MDM client that allows IT organizations to manage devices with the management system of choice, such as Windows Intune, MobileIron, Citrix, SAP and Sophos.

Microsoft have made it easier to enrol devices into these solutions, which reduces time & costs for the customer. Once enrolled, the IT admin can fully manage the device including:

  • Configuration policies
  • Email or Office 365 accounts
  • Certificates for user authentication
  • VPN and Wi-Fi profiles
  • Apps

Platform Convergence

Over 90% of APIs are shared between Windows Phone 8.1 & Windows 8.1 Update. This makes developing apps for both platforms so much easier for business development teams. They no longer need to choose/prioritize on over the other and can create them all in the same environment.

This move makes it:

  • Easier
  • Quicker
  • Cheaper
  • More cost effective

for business to develop apps for Microsoft’s platforms.

Security

Windows Phone 8.1 can:

  • Utilize remote business data removal if a device is lost/stolen
  • Implement secure & trusted boot
  • Better sandbox app to prevent rootkits & malware

 

Email Encryption

S/MIME, the industry standard for email encryption, is now supported with WP8.1. Managed via Exchange or an MDM system, this allows users to sign & encrypt mail directly from their device.

Assigned Access

Use this to lock a handset to running just one app. If you have users who need to be mobile but just need to perform one dedicated task, using a lower cost handset with this features enables cost savings and security.

Enhanced App Management

Organizations can, via an Enterprise account, privately & securely distribute apps to WP8.1 handsets. These apps can be updated, removed – even defined as mandatory.

Orgs can also whitelist/blacklist apps and even block the store completely if required.

Certificate Management

This allows IT pros to enrol, renew, and revoke certificates for user authentication. These can be used to authenticate against:

  • Exchange Server
  • An Intranet Web Server
  • VPN
  • Wi-Fi
  • Line-Of-Business (LOB) applications.

Advanced certificate management is available so certificates are protected by the built-in TPM enabling Virtual Smartcard on Windows Phone.

Enterprise VPN & Wi-Fi

Windows Phone 8.1 includes app-specific VPNs, supporting IPsec & SSL VPN gateways. The VPN functionality is supported by many major vendors such as:

  • CheckPoint
  • Dell/SonicWall
  • F5
  • Juniper

which will make integration into corporate networks even easier.

Also, Enterprise Wi-Fi with EAP-TLS and EAP-TTLS will allow the employee to connect to the corporate Wi-Fi network, also managed with the MDM system; with Wi-Fi offloading using WI-Fi wherever possible to reduce data costs.

To see more of these features, and also those in Windows 8.1, check out this Windows blog:

http://blogs.windows.com/windows/b/business/archive/2014/04/02/building-the-mobile-workplace-with-windows-and-windows-phone.aspx

Windows Phone 8.1 for Consumers


At Build 2014, Joe Belfiore and co. announced a number of new features coming in Windows Phone 8.1, for both consumer & business users.

These features include:

Start Screen personalization

The ability to have any picture you like as the background to your Start Screen, with the tiles becoming transparent to show it through.

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Cortana

The Digital Assistant, named after a Halo character, is set to pitch some interesting battles against Apple’s Siri.

Cortana is the only digital assistant that gets to know you, builds a relationship that you can trust, and gets better over time by asking questions based on your behavior and checking in with you before she assumes you’re interested in something.

The US will get it as a beta almost straight away with it then rolling out to the UK & China in the 2nd half of 2014, with other countries to follow in 2015.

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Cortana will do things such as:

  • Remind you of upcoming flights
  • Tell you when to leave for the airport – based on live traffic info
  • Block non-essential calls/texts etc. during user set “Quiet Hours”
  • Give reminders based on location
  • Track weather, stocks etc
  • Interact with 3rd party apps – use Cortana to tweet, to watch TV shows on your device, call in Skype and more.

Action Center

Giving a central location to see notifications from ALL apps as well as easy access to settings such as Bluetooth, Wifi etc.

Word Flow Keyboard

Similar to the Swype keyboard, a quicker, more intelligent keyboard for typing in WP8.1. This was used to break the World Record (held by Swype on a Galaxy S4) by 8 seconds!

Calendar

The calendar in WP up to now has been functional, but not quite there and I’ve heard many complaints about it’s ease of use (or lack thereof). Microsoft have heard that and completely redesigned the calendar experience. It has things such as:

  • Week View
  • Pan right to move to the next day/week/month
  • Integrated weather

and more

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Internet Explorer 11 for Windows Phone

Synchronization between devices means you’ll be able to see all your open tabs and favourites across all your devices. It also gives:

  • InPrivate Browsing
  • Password caching
  • Reading Mode

Password caching will be great, I’m so used to that on my Windows 8.1 devices that it’s always a shock when I’m asked for a password on my phone!

Additional Features:

Burst Mode added to standard camera

Data Sense “High Savings” mode which increases compression of web images to reduce data usage.

Wi-Fi Sense connects to free open hotspots automatically to reduce data usage. You can use Cortana to turn this option on only in your favourite areas.

Storage Sense helps manage content such as apps, music & photos on SD cards and also help with transferring such things between the card and the phone.

Battery Saver improvements can now “dramatically extend your battery life”.

Microsoft Account Sync – Apps you purchase on your Windows Phone will also appear on your Windows 8 device (and vice versa – if the app supports both platforms of course). Also sync your theme colour across devices as well as your home Wi-Fi password.

Project your phone – connect it to a PC via USB and you can show the phone on there. SOME new WP8.1 devices will support Miracast for wireless projection to compatible devices.

To see more on these features, head over to:

http://blogs.windows.com/windows_phone/b/windowsphone/archive/2014/04/02/cortana-yes-and-many-many-other-great-features-coming-in-windows-phone-8-1.aspx

Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite


Microsoft have released further info about the Enterprise Mobility Suite and how it will be licensed.

“Businesses can add Enterprise Mobility Suite to any user or device with active Software Assurance on CoreCAL, ECAL, or BridgeCAL for Microsoft Office 365.”

A big point of EMS is that it offers bundle pricing, making it cheaper for organizations to grab all this Cloud goodness.

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Download the datasheet here:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/enterprise-mobility-suite/buy.aspx#fbid=GoFMyywgvz8

Thanks, as ever, to Licensing School for the heads up on the datasheet.

Enterprise Mobility Suite


Satya Nadella didn’t just announce Office for iPad yesterday, he also announced the Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS).

The capabilities packaged in the EMS are a giant step beyond simple MDM. The EMS is a people-first approach to identity, devices, apps, and data – and it allows you to actively build upon what you already have in place while proactively empowering your workforce well into the future.

The EMS has three key elements:

  • Identity and access management delivered by Azure Active Directory Premium
  • MDM and MAM delivered by Windows Intune
  • Data protection delivered by Azure AD Rights Management Services

What do these bits do?

Azure AD Premium is packed with features that save IT teams time and money, for example:

  • It delivers group management and self-service password reset – dramatically cutting the time/cost of helpdesk calls.
  • It provides pre-configured single sign on to more than 1,000 popular SaaS applications so IT can easily manage access for users with one set of credentials.
  • To improve visibility for IT and security, it includes security reporting to identify and block threats (e.g. anomalous logins) and require multi-factor authentication for users when these abnormalities are detected.

Windows Intune is Microsofts cloud-based MDM and PC management solution.

Since its launch we have regularly delivered updates to this service at a cloud cadence. In October 2013 and January 2014 we added new capabilities like e-mail profile management for iOS, selective wipe, iOS 7 data protection configuration, and remote lock and password reset.

Following up on these new features, in April we will also be adding more Android device management with support for the Samsung KNOX platform, as well as support for the upcoming update to Windows Phone.

Microsoft Azure Rights Management is a powerful and easy-to-use way for organizations to protect their critical information when it is at rest or in transit.

This service is already available today as part of Office 365, and Microsoft recently added extended capability for existing on-prem deployments. Azure RMS now supports the connection to on-prem Exchange, SharePoint, and Windows Servers.

For example, if an employee leaves an organization or if a document is accidentally sent to the wrong individual, the company’s data is protected because there is no way for the recipient to open the file.

The Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) will be available via Microsoft’s Enterprise Volume Licensing programs from May 1st.

See more info here:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/in_the_cloud/archive/2014/03/27/enterprise-mobility-for-every-business-and-every-device.aspx

Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite Rumour


Rumours abound that Microsoft are set to make 2 announcements at tomorrow’s (27/03/14) web conference:

1) Office for iPad

2) Enterprise Mobility Suite

Office for iPad is a big one, that’s been talked about for a long while, and is a tricky thing to consider. On one hand, there are millions of people with iPads who will surely buy Office – bringing in significant revenue to Redmond. On the other hand, does Office on iPad weaken the Windows tablet message somewhat?

I don’t think it does, Office isn’t the only benefit of a Windows tablet – but I can see it being a question MS will need to address.

The second point is a newer rumour – the Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS). According to ZDNet, this will be a bundle of:

  • Windows Intune
  • Azure Active Directory Premium (a new offering)
  • Azure Rights Management Services

This would enable organizations to easily manage 1000’s of devices – Windows, Windows RT, Windows Phone as well as iOS & Android – with features such as self service password reset, group management and more.

Source – ZDnet: http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-to-unveil-enterprise-mobility-suite-alongside-office-for-ipad-7000027717/

Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 Device


Windows Phone 8 is not far away and today we’ve seen sneak previews of 2 devices that will surely be revealed at Nokia’s event on September 5th, alongside Microsoft.

Nokia Lumia 920

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What will it include?

  • Wireless Charging
  • 32GB Storage
  • 1GB RAM
  • 1.5GHz Dual Core CPU
  • 4.5” HD Display
  • Front Facing Camera

The Verge also report that the camera will be branded as “PureView” but will be 8MP rather than 41 as on the Nokia 808. Until my Lumia 800, I’ve never had a Nokia nor have I had any interest in Nokia if I’m honest, so I haven’t come across the PureView brand before. What I gather is that it’s a kick-ass camera and people are upset that this has just 8 megapixels yet is being branded as PureView. Nokia say there have been advancements in image stabilization & software that mean they can brand it as such which seems reasonable to me, we all know that megapixels aren’t everything 🙂

This looks like it could well be my next phone…double the storage which will be great for my ever more eclectic music taste, a front facing camera for making use of the baked in Skype features and WIRELESS CHARGING – that is some Star Trek stuff right there!

Here’s a picture of the wireless charging mat via @evleaks:

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Angry Birds on Xbox 360


Angry Birds is awesome.

If you’re not familiar with it, it’s something of a mobile device phenomenon. A game where pigs have stolen eggs from birds (hence their anger) and where retribution is exacted by the sling shotting of birds at the aforementioned pigs! They’re not just regular birds though, some drop bombs, some ARE bombs, some divide into 3 and plenty more super powered feathered adversaries.

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It, of course, started on the iPhone but recently became available on Android devices and was download 1 Million times in 24 hours!

That’s helped somewhat by the fact that it’s ad-supported on Android – meaning it’s FREE to users.

Anyway, I’m not here simply to talk about the game. I’m here to talk about the fact that it is coming to the consoles; that’s right – Angry Birds will be on:

  • Wii
  • PS3
  • Xbox 360

which is great stuff. I’m especially excited if they make it a Kinect game, as JonThomasDesigns says in the Gizmodo comments says:

They Should make a first person view using Kinect ,, Like you’re pulling the Slingshot .. Once you launch you become the Bird and use movements to do the special move such as splitting in 3 or dropping the egg

That would definitely be a great game Smile

Rovio Mobile also tell us that Angry Birds 2 is under way and:

the pigs will be a lot more active than just being slingshotted at by birds

Looking forward to this…I assume there’s a Windows Phone 7 version coming right?!

Android App: GMote


A free app Android app saved me £59.99 last week!

I’ve got my desktop hooked up to the tv in the living room for the purposes of watching online media such as Lovefilm, 4oD, SKy Player etc and it’s great. One downside though was my lack of wireless keyboard and mouse. “They’re easy to find” you say, and you’re right…but I’m fussy. I didn’t want 2 separate peripherals, oh no, I wanted a wireless keyboard with an inbuilt touchpad; and these it seem are shockingly difficult to find!

It seems, at least to me, like the kind of thing that would be everywhere but that’s not the case. I looked in all the high street stores and a lot of online sellers and came up empty handed. Eventually I found one in PC World/Currys and how much did they want for this Toshiba crafted gem? That’s right – £59.99. In my opinion that is grossly over priced, so I left it on the shelf and continued to rue my lack of combined wireless peripherals.

Then, while looking at something different online, I came across the GMote app for Android…and this thing is AWESOME! Smile

What does it do?

It turns your Android 1.6+ phone into a wireless remote for your pc! Yes it does!

How?

You install Gmote on your mobile device and the Gmote server on the machine/s you wish to control.

Download the desktop server software here:

http://www.gmote.org/

On there, you point it towards your media files (my music etc) and you’re then able to connect to them from your Android device, search through them and play them on your desktop. You can use your mobile to pause, skip, reverse etc just like a regular remote control.

I can tell you’re thinking “that’s pretty good, but does it warrant the capital “awesome” above?”. That’s not all it does, this is the best bit:

It can remotely control your mouse and has keyboard input ability too!

So I can sit on my couch, open up a web browser and navigate to Youtube, maybe 4 on Demand, Lovefilm Online, Wikipedia, whatever…all from my Android device!

It works really well, is very smooth and it FREE!

Anyone who has an Android device and the need to control a machine – get this app NOW!

Microsoft Windows Phone 7: RTM


Microsoft’s new Mobile Operating System – Windows Phone 7 – has been “Released to Manufacturing”. That means it’s done and the work of the “internal engineering team is largely complete” according to Terry Myerson, Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone Engineering.

Terry’s blog post on the Windows Team Blog gives some fascinating examples of how Microsoft have been testing this new release:

“We had nearly ten thousand devices running automated tests daily, over a half million hours of active self-hosting use, over three and a half million hours of stress test passes, and eight and a half million hours of fully automated test passes”

That is a LOT of testing hours!

The full blog post can be read over at:

http://windowsteamblog.com/windows_phone/b/windowsphone/archive/2010/09/01/windows-phone-7-released-to-manufacturing.aspx

Android Apps: Great ones I’ve found


I’ve had my HTC Hero for 9 or 10 months now and one of my favourite things is the app market. Recently I’ve come across a few new (at least to me) apps that are pretty awesome, and they are:

Astrid Tasks

This is a great to-do list application to help you keep track of all the many tasks you need to do. The best thing about it though, is it links to and synchronizes with Remember The Milk, which is, in my opinion, the best task tracker/to-do list out there.

BBC Browsecast

This app enables you to listen to BBC Radio LIVE on your Android device as well as access BBC podcasts.

To listen live, you can choose from:

  • Radio 1
  • 1Xtra
  • Radio 2
  • Radio 3
  • Radio 4
  • 5Live
  • Radio 7
  • Asian Network

Podcasts from 37 stations are available including the above as well as:

and a host of other regional stations.

The app works really well and will definitely come in handy when I’m out and about…especially for catching footy!

Goal.Com

I found this app during the world cup and it’s a brilliant football app, with a wealth of news as well as scores. It really is one of my favourite apps and I look at it numerous times a day to keep up to date with what’s happening in the football world. It covers such a wide range of the football world that it’s hard to know where to start!

Across the top, you have the following menu choices:

Breaking | Live Scores | Club News | More

Breaking: This updates as and when new/breaking news hits the football world, be it injuries, transfers, comments etc.

Live Scores: This is a super handy section of the app which does what it says – it gives you live scores. Watching the Utd v Everton game, the Goal.com app updated with a minute or so of the goals happening on Sky…very swift – which is exactly what you need. The best thing is the scores aren’t limited to the Premier League either, you can get live updates for:

  • Champions League
  • Europa League
  • Premier League
  • Ligue 1 (France)
  • Bundesliga (Germany)
  • Primera Division (Spain aka La Liga)
  • MLS (America)
  • Copa Libertadores (South American club competition)

Club News: This section is sub divided into:

  • Manchester Utd
  • Chelsea
  • Liverpool
  • Arsenal

and gives the latest news on happening with those clubs.

More: This section is again broken down into the different country leagues/international cups. For some, such as the Premier League and Ligue 1, it gives news updates concerning all clubs in that league. This is really useful for keeping abreast of what’s happening in across the Premier League…it can be as important to know what the other teams are up to as it is your own…especially when you’re doing fantasy football! Not all league get the news feature but they do all have a league table which is again very useful. Being able to see who’s at the top of La Liga and Serie A is really nice Smile

If you’re a football fan I’d DEFINITELY recommend that you download this app!

IMDB

: Yes, I know this has been around for a while but my HTC Hero was stuck on Android 1.5 until my recent upgrade to 2.1 so I’m a little behind the curve on some things! If you have Android 1.6 or above, get this…having the power of IMDB at your fingertips is awesome…and can help settle disagreements where ever you are Winking smile

Last.FM

: This free app allows you to listen to Last.FM stations on the move. I’ve only used this on Wi-Fi but it worked a treat, great streaming and a nice quick app.

MixZing

: I use this instead of the built in music app and I’m a big fan of it. The main things for me are that it’s easy to create playlists and has a great shuffle function.

Sky+

: This app is brilliant. It lets you set things to record on your sky+ box…from your Android handset! I’ve used this loads of times and it’s really easy to do…simply put in your sky.com login details and bang, start remote recording Smile It’s even got a feature that the sky box doesn’t and it’s very useful, it gives you “alternative screenings” of films so you can easily if it’s on again when it won’t clash with your current schedule.

Vlingo Voice

: I was most disappointed to discover that the HTC build of Android 2.1 doesn’t include voice to text (V2T) capabilities. I have no idea why they decided to remove it but it was a feature I was really looking forward to so I was a little put out. However, I then discovered Vlingo, a free app that gives you brilliant V2T functionality…I was pretty amazed at what can be done with this app.

There are a number of things you can do with it (some U.S only it seems) but the ones that I use are:

Text Message: If you say “Text Geoff what are you doing” It will open up a new message, add in the text and then all you  need to do is click “send”!

Email: This is similar to text messages, just say “Email Geoff what are you doing” and, as long as their email address is listed in their contact card, it’ll pop up ready to send.

Twitter: Again, nice and easy just say “Twitter” followed by your update.

You can also use it to update Facebook and even check in on FourSquare!

These are all great apps that I’ve found over the last few weeks and I hope you find them useful too…if you’ve got any to add, hit up the comments!