Being Manan

3 Things Cortana Can Do Better

Cortana is conceptually an amazing tool. Based on what I’ve read it’s a Google Now meet Siri on Windows Phone. A year ago I wrote the following:

The bigger problem with Microsoft is that while Apple & Google are perfecting Siri & Now, MSFT is busy figuring out whether Windows Phone is part of Windows or stands by itself, what core code it uses and who owns it. By the time MSFT figures this out, it’ll be too late to be relevant for at least a few years.

Cortana changes all that. Bing changes all that, that’s for those idiots who’ve been telling MSFT to abandon Bing. I’ve been playing with Cortana on 8.1 dev preview and here are 3 things I’d want from Cortana.

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Xbox LIVE Gold: A Waste of Money

Microsoft would like you to buy Xbox LIVE Gold subscription at $3.34 a month this Black Friday. I got myself a TV, setup my Xbox and realizing that I can’t do much without LIVE, I bought it. Then I realized, Comcast Xfinity won’t work since I don’t have Comcast’s internet. So, fuck you Comcast for that.

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The Xbox Mobile

After Surface and reading between some announcements, a phone from Microsoft has become a matter of when rather than if. And for Microsoft, leveraging the Xbox brand makes sense. Apple is currently dominating mobile gaming with iOS, and for Microsoft having Xbox only as a hub for all games with only stats integration is a waste of Xbox’s mobile potential. All this might change soon. Then again, this is a patent so when Microsoft actually unveils what’s depicted is a different discussion, could be before Durango, after Durango, or knowing Microsoft, perhaps never. Read the full story »

Android Is The New Windows

For the past few days my rants against Windows Phone, and sometimes iPhone, have become sharper. A few weeks ago I got myself an iPhone 5 and the device has become my primary device, with the Lumia 920 still accompanying me everywhere. Using the iPhone 5 has made me change several conceived notions. Coupled with product news that keep coming in, my observations on Twitter have received a lot of criticism–which is understandable.

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Microsoft’s Continued State of Mobile Oblivion

ob·liv·i·on

Noun
  1. The state of being unaware or unconscious of what is happening.
  2. The state of being forgotten, esp. by the public.

Concentrating on the first meaning of the word, let’s talk about Microsoft’s mobile phone strategy. Microsoft has 2 major resets in their mobile struggle so far:

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Microsoft Patent Reveals User Behavior Based Battery Saving

Let’s face it, no matter what smartphone or super smartphone you get, you’re limited by battery more than anything else. The phones have come a long way with iPhone 5, Lumia 920 lasting at least the best part of a day, with Wi-Fi, 4G, streaming, 10-11 hours of the battery-life is reasonable and the best case scenario. Read the full story »

Microsoft’s Biggest Blunder With Windows Phone

Perception and conveying a cohesive message is very important. In fact, the ability to do this right coupled with a good product can change fortunes; case in point, Apple. I bought the Samsung Focus when it was launched, it died. The phone came with Windows Phone 7 that was updated to Windows Phone 7.5 no thanks to AT&T. Then came the news of a new reboot–Windows Phone 8 within weeks of Nokia’s big Lumia 900 launch in the US. Due to Microsoft’s poor skills at conveying messages, this came as the finger to Lumia 900 & Windows Phone 7.5 device buyers. The reason I say this is because sometime later, Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7.8–an update to WP7, alongside Windows Phone 8. It was slightly reassuring but by then Microsoft had received all the possible bad press they could get. It was baffling and highly disappointing to see a company that boasts of world-class engineers at how poorly they handle conveying messages.

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Surface Is Shit, Ergo Microsoft Is Dead; Or Not

The Microsoft Surface tablet has been plagued with doubt, uncertainty, pessimism, excitement and intrigue. It’s been so since the rumors, into the announcement and after launch. By loudest critics of the product, it is being seen as some sort of beacon of Windows’ imminent irrelevance and thereby Microsoft’s impending doom. Some hilariously speculate Windows 8 is for Microsoft’s pivot into advertisements, while the more realistic analysts say Microsoft will focus on enterprise since that’s where their profits are. Anyhow, all this doom and gloom is too soon and I’ll call it bullshit. Here’s why: Read the full story »

Microsoft’s Version Of Apple’s ‘Find My Friends’ Found In A Patent

I realize that it’s been a while since I wrote about a patent but I come back with an interesting one. While bored of finding newer ways of killing time, I decided to dig through some new patent filings and I found something that is a lot like Apple’s Find My Friends iOS app.

This is the second geo-location patent from Microsoft in recent times. I tweeted about the first one being like sharing a location with friends in WhatsApp, we later found out that this was part of the new Rooms feature in Windows Phone 8. The new patent expands on the ability of just sharing one’s location to mapping friends and communicating with them. Here’s an image: Read the full story »