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.


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:

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.



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.


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!


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


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:

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


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:


Microsoft Announce Windows Phone 8

Just days after the Microsoft Surface tablet event, MS held another – this time to officially announce Windows Phone 8.

There were a lot of announcements, a lot of news – some good, some bad, a lot of innovations and a lot of reasons to get a Windows Phone 8 device. I’ll try and cover them off as best I can here:

New Start Screen

The Start Screen with it’s Metro interface and Live Tiles is one of the key eye grabbers of Windows Phone and it’s being improved in Windows Phone 8 (and 7.8 but we’ll come to that later).

First up is a new, third size for tiles giving us “small, medium & large” with the new “small” size enabling users to fit more on their home screen.

Secondly, Microsoft are removing the blank strip down the right hand side of the screen (you know, with the side arrow at the top), giving users a fair bit more screen real estate to play with.


They’re also going to be expanding the number of colours available.


Near Field Communication (NFC) is going to be integrated right into WP8, enabling payments by waving your phone at things, the ability to store card details, store cards etc and more…essentially a combination of Google Wallet & Apple Passbook with extras on top. It will also enable each pairing with a range of accessories such as, and I only discovered these today, Nokia’s NFC enabled speakers…you just touch your phone to them and BOOM – connected. These are available for Nokia’s current range of NFC enabled Symbian devices so I can only assume WP8 will be invited to the party. Another feature will be the ability to “bump” phones and transfer contact details etc…cool and useful for trade shows, impromptu meetings etc…I’m sure I’d end up using it all the time.

SD Support

Proper SD support is coming to Windows Phone 8 devices. SD cards that can be used as true removable storage…transfer music, pictures, documents and also install apps!

Windows 8 Core

This is a huge one – MS are moving away from the former Windows CE core and instead implementing the same NT Kernel as the new Windows 8 desktop OS! This means that file system, media, drivers and a lot of the security will be the same across desktop & mobile; allowing many of the features mentioned above as well as games/apps that can move between the two. That last point will make for a great user experience as well as making things much easier and more attractive for developers – which is always a good thing!

Another thing enabled by the move to the NT Kernel is multi-core processor support which will drive the next generation of WP mobile apps and games.

Internet Explorer 10

IE 10 will be on Windows Phone 8 bring the SmartScreen URL screening & phishing protection. That’s about all the news on that for now though…

VOIP Integration

VOIP is going to be “industry leading” when it comes to integration on WP8, with not just Skype but also Tango et al becoming “first class” app; giving them deep integration into things such as the People Hub and the dialler. The next crop of WP8 devices will surely (nearly) all come with front facing cameras – those 2 things combined could help to make video calling as ubiquitous as people have been predicting for years.

Enterprise Features

One of the (quite) valid criticisms levelled at WP 7/7.5 is its lack of Enterprise features; in some areas it was actually less feature rich than Windows Mobile 6.5. New business centric features WP8 will bring include:

  • On-Device Encryption
  • Device Management
  • Line Of Business (LOB) app support
  • Private market places for internal business app distribution
  • Side-Loading

Now for the bad news…

This ISN’T coming to existing Windows Phone devices. None of them. Not the Lumia 800. Not the Lumia 900. None of them.

Yes, if you’ve just upgraded to a shiny new Lumia (or other WP device) that is a bit of a rage-inducing moment but hey, there’s always Mazuma and Envirofone Open-mouthed smile

Microsoft have taken quite a brave step of angering some people to make wholesale changes that straight away move Windows Phone to the front of the mobile pack. Yes those recent adopters will be a bit annoyed but when their contracts come up for renewal again it seems likely that WP devices will be the best on market so they’ll be able to stick with it going forwards.

One thing that IS coming to current handsets is the new, improved Start Screen under the Windows Phone 7.8 update. Although it doesn’t bring the new features it does make an already great mobile OS even more aesthetically pleasing.

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