Windows Phone's terminal wind-down: Microsoft sets new sunset dates

Video: Microsoft drops Teams, Yammer, Skype for Business from Windows Phone.

Windows 10

Microsoft has issued a warning over a few new key cut-off dates coming for developers who built apps for Windows Phone 8.x and Windows 8.

With no future for Windows Phone, Microsoft has now laid out its plans for the remnants of its mobile effort.

From October 31, the Microsoft Store will no longer accept new app submissions for Windows Phone 8.x or earlier, or for Windows 8/8.1, though it will continue to accept updates for existing apps in the store, Microsoft said in a blogpost.

From July 1, 2019, the company will stop app distributing updates to devices running Windows Phone 8.x or earlier devices.

Developers can still publish updates to all existing apps in the store, including those with Windows Phone 8.x or earlier packages. However, Microsoft will make these available to Windows 10 devices.

The cut-off for apps targeting Windows 8 and 8.1 devices is a little further off. Microsoft plans to stop distributing updates to these devices on July 21, 2023.

Microsoft last year announced that it would not release any new features for Windows 10 Mobile, and HP has also discontinued the Elite X3, one of two Windows 10 phones still for sale on Microsoft’s website.

Microsoft is telling developers of apps for its older mobile and desktop operating systems to instead port their existing software to its Universal Windows Platform for targeting all Windows 10 devices, from Microsoft’s HoloLens headset to PCs.

At the time of its Nokia acquisition Microsoft optimistically forecast that it could attain 15 percent share of the smartphone market by 2018.

Microsoft’s current mobile efforts are focused on syncing Windows 10 with Android and iOS through its Edge smartphone app and the new Your Phone app, which should be available with the next major feature release of Windows 10, version 1809, expected to reach the public in October.

Previous and related coverage

Windows 10’s Your Phone app: Take pic on Android phone, see it pop up on your PC

Pics on Android phones will soon sync with Windows PCs, removing the need to transfer photos via email or USB.

Microsoft Your Phone, First Take: Nice idea, but implementation needs to improve

Microsoft has promised a change in the way we treat PCs and phones. Your Phone is the first step on the journey, but is it good enough?

Microsoft quietly makes ‘Your Phone’ Android app available to mainstream Windows 10 users

Microsoft briefly rolled out out its ‘My Phone’ app for Windows 10 more broadly. There are also new Insider test builds of its ‘Redstone 5’ Windows client and Server and Patch Tuesday fixes for many Win 10 variants.

Windows 10 Mobile: Now you can update your phone from your PC

Windows Phone is dead, but Microsoft has released a new updater tool to keep your devices patched.

Microsoft is dropping its Windows Phone apps for Teams, Yammer, Skype for Business in May

Windows Phone users will lose support for their native Microsoft Teams, Yammer, and Skype for Business apps as of next month.

Windows 10 Mobile? No new features but a new phone: Wileyfox Pro is out December 4

At least the new $250 handset will be getting security updates from Microsoft.

Why Windows Phone users are now a serious security risk to their employers TechRepublic

Microsoft has ended support for Windows Phone 8.1, meaning users will no longer receive important updates. Here’s how your business can respond.

How to replace all your favorite Windows Phone features CNET

We find the best replacements for your favorite features.

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Samsung reveals two budget-friendly curved monitors at Gamescom

Something to look forward to: Unless you decided to go off the grid yesterday, you’re likely to know about the RTX 2000-series unveiling. But while Nvidia’s GPUs are Gamescom’s biggest talking point, other companies are using the event to announce their own products. One of these is Samsung, which has just lifted the lid on two “affordable” curved gaming monitors.

The new CJG5 series is available in 27-inch and 32-inch versions. Both feature WQHD (2560 x 1440) curved VA panels with contrast ratios of 3000:1 and minimal bezels.

As these displays are aimed at gamers, they come with high refresh rates; 144Hz, to be exact. While some will argue otherwise, 1440p@144Hz (or higher) is generally regarded as the sweet spot for PC gaming.

Both monitors come with a 1800R curvature—the same as Samsung’s CFG70—which the company claims minimizes eye fatigue by reducing the change in the user’s focal distance. Port-wise, they feature two HDMI inputs (2.0 and 1.4) and a DisplayPort. No G-Sync or FreeSync, sadly.

“Due to the rapidly increasing demands of gaming monitors, we sought to offer competitively-priced gaming monitors for more users to benefit from premium technology,” said Seog-gi Kim, Executive Vice President of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics.

While Samsung calls these monitors “affordable,” it only revealed the UK prices: £309.99 for the 27-inch and £359.99 for the 32-inch version. Converting to dollars and taking into account taxes, the smaller display should cost somewhere between $300 to $350, which isn’t bad for a 27-inch monitor with this resolution and refresh rate.

For more displays of all specs and price ranges, check out our Best Gaming Monitors feature.

Full specs:

  • Model CJG5
  • Size 27”, 32”
  • Design Curved Display
  • Color Dark Silver
  • Resolution 2,560 x 1,440
  • Aspect Ratio 16:09
  • Curvature 1,800R
  • Panel Type VA Curved
  • Brightness (Typ.) 300 cd/m2
  • Viewing Angle 178o(H)/ 178o(V)
  • Refresh Rate 144Hz
  • Contrast Ratio (Typ.) 3,000 : 1
  • Response Time 4ms (GTG)
  • Input Signal 2x HDMI (1x 2.0, 1x 1.4)

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Life is Strange 2's full trailer introduces new cast and mysterious power

Something to look forward to: Life is Strange, the episodic story of two teenage girls—one of whom has the power to rewind time—became a well-deserved hit when it arrived back in 2015. Following last year’s ‘Before the Storm’ prequel, Life is Strange 2 is set to arrive next month, and developer Dontnod has just released the full trailer.

While Life is Strange 2 is a follow-up to the original, it features a whole new cast and different location, meaning no Max, Chloe, or Arcadia Bay. Instead, the story follows 16-year old Sean Diaz and his 9-year-old brother, Daniel, who are running away from their Seattle home to their family’s hometown of Puerto Lobos, Mexico, following a tragic incident involving a police officer.

As with the previous titles, expect a heavy focus on the dramatic story and characters along with numerous tough decisions that affect how things play out.

2017’s Life is Strange: Before the Storm lacked the original’s time-traveling mechanic, but it appears that some form of supernatural powers will make a return. The game is also being released across five episodes, the first of which will arrive on September 27 and can be preordered here.

“The game will this time focus on brotherhood alongside the need to guide and educate your younger brother whilst simultaneously coming of age yourself,” writes Dontnod. “As with previous games in the series, Life is Strange 2 will tackle a host of issues that all of us can identify with and that will cause moral dilemmas and require much soul searching. These themes come together most powerfully in the way Daniel will develop depending on the lessons you teach him and the role model you decide to be.”

It’s hoped that Life is Strange 2 will be a return to form for Dontnod. The developer’s last major game, the action RPG Vampyr, received mixed reviews.

If you’re interested in Life is Strange 2, check out the free The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit playable teaser to get you in the mood, or, if you don’t care much for spoilers, watch the first 20 minutes of episode 1 below.

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We just launched Plugged – a place where we write about gadgets for humans

Gadget reviews – in the form in which they are most common – are boring at worst and utilitarian at best.

They tell you what the best product to buy is, sometimes taking into account our budget, but, most of the time, more about the personal preferences and lifestyle of the person reviewing.

This is great, if you’re looking for something in particular, know exactly what your budget is, and what you’d like to use the product for.

It’s not great if you have no idea what you’re looking for. Or if you’re not actively searching for a new gadget. Or if you’re hoping to stumble across something you never knew you needed before it appeared in front of you.

That’s why we’re launching Plugged: a beautiful new part of TNW where we discuss products in way that better suits the reader, and is just as enjoyable to read as all our other content.

The main idea of this new section is to focus on who a certain product might be good for, or for what situation it can thrive in.

Take this pair of $45 noise-cancelling earbuds. They might not satisfy audiophiles, but they’re pretty much perfect for someone who commutes a lot on loud public transport and is prone to losing things. So that’s who we recommend them to.

Or if you’re on a tight budget and hate your neighbors: check out these horrendously loud, Ray J-approved bluetooth speakers. In desperate need of wine, but despise actually purchasing purchasing any? We got you. We’ve even reviewed a tablet that’s perfect for entertaining your goldfish, but not much else.

Ok, so we might not always be 100 percent serious. Sometimes products are just ripe for more creative use because their function is so obvious. But when we recommend something for someone, we really mean it.

Ultimately, we’d like Plugged to be even more reader-focused. One day soon, products we write about will be categorized not by type, price, or how good they are, but by personality.

Personally, I really like the way characters in Dungeons and Dragons are categorized; on two axes, one ranging from good to evil, the other from law to chaos.

Using this system, a person who loses all their stuff all the time, but never jumps the turnstyle would be chaotic good. A person looking to steal wine from poor shop owners would be chaotic evil. And someone who’s just looking for ‘the 10 best affordable televisions’ would be lawful good.

It allows us as writers to write for a certain type of person, and it allows you as reader to take on a ‘role’ in the content you get recommended.

Anyway. That’s for later. Currently we’re launching a minimal version that nonetheless is based on this philosophy and we’re really proud of.

Since Plugged is evolving, we welcome any and all feedback you have on the content, the layout, and the idea. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me, at my first name @thenextweb.com with comments.

Also, head over to Plugged to peep what we’re doing, and be sure to take a look at our newly formed Bluetooth Speaker Orchestra. Yes, we take requests.

TAKE ME TO PLUGGED

Read next:

We played a symphony on bluetooth speakers instead of reviewing them like normal people

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We played a symphony on bluetooth speakers instead of reviewing them like normal people

I once dreamt of playing music for a living, but – as is the case with many people – my ambition outstripped my drive. And, you know, talent.

Thankfully though, technology has my back.

With smartphones and bluetooth speakers, it’s like everyone’s been gifted with a basic musical ability – all without the need for boring things like skills or technique or expertise.

So, with the launch of Plugged – our new sub-brand focusing on gear and gadgets – it seemed like an ideal time to stretch our musical muscles.

In other words, do our own rendition of “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” – also known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey – using only our phones and a range of bluetooth speakers. Because, you know, how else are you meant to review them?

Watch the whole thing above (or on YouTube itself here).

If you’re interested in any of the speakers used in the video, you can find more information below.

Full reviews:

Links:

To keep up-to-date with Plugged, head over here.

Also, go and follow us on Twitter. Especially, if you’d like to hear the TNW Orchestra conquer any more classics – because that’s where you can let us know what you want to hear.

You know it’s gonna be good.

Published August 21, 2018 — 12:30 UTC

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Welcome to Plugged, TNW’s new hardware publication

We’re proud to announce the launch of our gear, gadget, and hardware site, Plugged![embedded content]

While there are more brilliant bits of hardware being released than ever before, the majority of reviews veer heavily towards either the dull or just an exploration of the author’s lifestyle.

At Plugged, we want to do things differently.

Rather than testing out whether a product is right for us, we want to highlight the type of person it’d be perfect for.

Think of it this way: there’s a bit of hardware that’s ideal for you, you might just not know it yet. And if it’s not for you? At least the review will be fun to read or watch.

Alejandro Tauber – The Next Web’s Editor-in-Chief – delved into this further in his intro piece to Plugged. I’d recommend you go check it out.

As shown in the Plugged introduction video above, we’ve already been creating some work for the site we’re incredibly proud of. So, what better place to highlight some of that than here?

The Hövding

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We took to the streets of Amsterdam with the Hövding – an inflatable bike helmet – with a simple question: would the Dutch public wear one?

Oh, and whether or not it’d protect us from a trampoline.

The Furbo

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Dogs have all the luck. Unlimited naps, no rent, and belly rubs on demand.

In this video, we explored whether the Furbo – a dog camera and snack shooter – could be beneficial to people too. For once, humanity might have the upper hand.

The Coravin

The Coravin is a cool gadget. It’s a clamp-like device that sits on a bottle of wine. It then drives a needle through the cork, letting you take out the sweet liquid without ruining the rest. Ideal for vino-lovers who buy expensive bottles.

While this is great for some, what about those who just want a free glass of wine for the shop? Well, we had to find out.

The Somnox

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Getting to sleep isn’t always as easy as it sounds. This is why a team of Dutch researchers invented the Somnox, a device that helps people who struggle with this drift off.

Basically, it’s a robot with a difference: it wants to cuddle, rather than destroy.

To make sure you don’t miss out on any projects like these in the future, make sure you go and follow Plugged on Twitter. Until then, we’re excited to make this journey with you.

Published August 21, 2018 — 12:30 UTC

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In less than a year, the $1,000 phone has become entirely normal

When you’re paying close attention to the maelstrom of tech industry activity, the pace of change can seem logical, methodical, occasionally even a little slow. But look away for even the briefest period of time, and you’ll be shocked by how quickly and radically things have when you check back in. The $1,000 price threshold for smartphones is a good example.

Three or four years ago, anyone proposing a four-figure price for a phone would have been laughed out of their boardroom meeting. Two years ago, if I’d told you Apple would be successfully selling a phone with a notch in its screen but no headphone jack, at a price of $999, you’d have shaken your head and accused me of wilder wishful thinking than Gene Munster’s Apple TV pipe dream. And even at this time last year, I was busy writing a disbelieving meditation on the topic of Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Note 8 and how it crossed past the $1,000 mark.

And yet, for all our preconceptions about what reasonable smartphone pricing is and should be, every phone that’s dared to nudge up to the $999 level and above has proven a success. Apple’s iPhone X is selling faster and better than expected, leading one analyst to declare it has brought 2019 demand forward. Though mostly unavailable in the US, Huawei’s P20 Pro approaches iPhone X pricing, and it’s proven a popular choice in Europe, comfortably eclipsing the sales of its cheaper predecessor. Samsung’s Note 8, which got us all started on this upward trip in pricing, was also a solid hit for its maker, and the recently announced Note 9 is shaping up the same way.


What’s striking to me is how quickly the way we talk about these products has changed. In August 2017, we talked of $1,000 iPhones with the same air of incredulity with which we — I, in particular — treated the alien-looking AirPods when they were first revealed. In August 2018, we speak of pricey phones in the same way we discuss AirPods today: different, not for everyone, but worth it for those who decide to take the plunge. I don’t want to belabor this AirPods analogy too much, as the hike in smartphone pricing isn’t tied to a radically improved convenience as in the case of Apple’s truly wireless earbuds. With smartphones, companies pretty much just took a chance that we, the consumers, found more value in our phones than the price we were paying every couple of years. And they were right.

My interpretation of the past year, which has seen even the traditionally price-conscious China-centric manufacturers like Oppo bust out $999 models, is that it shows flagship smartphones were fundamentally mispriced. They were too cheap. The ease with which we’ve adapted to the scaling up of the cost of a flagship device makes that clear. Figuring out why that is the case requires more nebulous explanations and a measure of speculation to come in.

Everyone’s conscious of the status symbol quality of the iPhone, but similar intangible value might be attached to a $1,000 Android phone. After all, it must be worth more if it’s priced higher, right? We can pretend we’re rational about these purchase decisions, but our minds tend to anchor on the initial price we’re presented with, and then extrapolate perceived value from that number. There’s tons of research to show how imperfect the correlation between the real and perceived value of a product is. So maybe smartphones last year were more rationally priced than this year, but since humans are irrational, today’s pricing is going to stick, because it better matches the high-end market as it really is.


Along with the very highest prices, we’ve also witnessed the cost of mid-tier devices like those from OnePlus climbing over the past year and a half. I’m not sure where super flagship pricing will go over the next few years, but I doubt mid-range phones will get much more expensive. The competition among mass-market suppliers is still absolutely fierce, and price remains a decisive factor for many people shopping for their first or only phone. One potential outcome might be a widening of the gap between cheaper and more expensive phones, which would only reflect the broader economic divergence and inequality in our modern world.

All I can say about the future of phones is that their past has shown their progression to be unpredictable, tumultuous, and irregular. It might be this very unpredictability that makes keeping track of the mobile industry so enduringly exciting.

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Semmle, startup that makes code searchable, hauls in $21M Series B

Semmle, a startup that originally spun out of research at Oxford, announced a $21 million Series B investment today led by Accel Partners. It marked the second time Accel has led an investment in the company.

Other investors include Work-Bench, Capital One, Credit Suisse, Google, Microsoft, NASA and Nasdaq Trust. Today’s investment brings the total to $31 million.

Semmle has warranted this kind of interest by taking a unique approach to finding vulnerabilities in code. “The key idea behind our technology is to treat code as data and treat analysis problems as simple queries against a database. What this allows you to do is very easily encode domain expertise, security expertise or any other kinds of specialist knowledge in such a way it can be easily easily and automatically applied to large amounts of code,” Pavel Avgustinov, Semmle co-founder and VP of platform engineering told TechCrunch.

Screenshot: Semmle

Once you create the right query, you can continuously run it against your code to prevent the same mistakes from entering the code base on subsequent builds. The key here is building the queries and the company has a couple of ways to deal with that.

They can work with customers to help them create queries, although in the long run that is not a sustainable way of working. Instead, they share queries, and encourage customers to share them with the community.

“What we find is that the great tech companies we work with have the best security teams in the world, and they are giving back what they created on the Semmle platform with other users in an open source fashion. There is a GitHub repository where we publish queries, but Microsoft and Google are doing the same thing,” Oege de Moor, company CEO and co-founder explained.

In fact, the Semmle solution is freely available to open source programmers to use with their applications, and the company currently analyzes every commit of almost 80,000 open source projects. Open source developers can run shared queries against their code or create their own.

They also have a paid version with customers like Microsoft, Google, Credit Suisse, NASA and Nasdaq. They have relied mostly on these strategic partners up until now, all of which are also investors. With today’s investment they plan to build out their sales and marketing departments to expand their customer base into a wider enterprise market.

The company spun out of research at Oxford University in 2006. They are now based in San Francisco with 60 employees, a number that should go up with this investment. They received an $8 million Series A in 2014 and $2 million seed round in 2011.

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TomboyX picks up $4.3 million Series A

For the past ten to fifteen years, a crop of newer brands have found themselves gobbling up marketshare via direct to consumer channels. Some offer a better value proposition on an existing product category, like Warby Parker and Casper, while others offer a reinvention of the category itself, like Outdoor Voices and Glossier.

TomboyX, which just closed a $4.3 million Series A round, seems to be doing a great job of both.

The company, founded by Fran Dunaway and Naomi Gonzalez, offers gender-neutral underwear for an affordable price to folks who often aren’t represented in mainstream media. The company says that it serves a diverse customer base, including plus-sized, gender non-conforming and specialized tradespeople.

The funding, which was led through funds advised by TAU in conjunction with Redbadge Pacific and SBI Investments Korea, brings total funding to $6.3 million. As part of the deal, LVMH Group former Chairman of North America Pauline Brown has joined TomboyX’s Board of Directors.

TomboyX started in 2013 after cofounder Fran Dunaway found herself struggling to find a Robert Graham-style button down shirt. After a brief run making fun, hip dress shirts, the founders realized that the brand name itself, TomboyX, was really resonating with customers. However, dress shirts didn’t exactly work as a hero product.

The company shifted to underwear in September of 2014, and that’s when things started to take off. TomboyX sold out of its boxer briefs for women in under two weeks, and tripled revenue over the course of the next six months.

“At that point, we realized that we should evaluate the possibility that we’re an underwear company,” said Dunaway.

At the end of 2015, the company revamped the website and removed everything from the website that wasn’t underwear. Before that, TomboyX offered belts, buckles, shoes, and was centered more around a look than a specific product.

Since, the company has stayed laser focused on underwear, swimwear and loungewear, and has seen 2000 percent growth over the last three years running. Dunaway says that TomboyX is the only apparel company who sells every item in XS all the way up to 4XL.

With the new funding, the focus turns to ramping up marketing and awareness, building out the team, and adding more efficiency to the production process.

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Someone ordered a massive box of fried food and the internet had a lot to say about it

What will £10 ($12.84) get you in this day and age?

If you live in Scotland and have a rather large appetite, it could get you this staggering amount of fried food plus a large bottle of Scottish soda Irn-Bru. 

Known as a “crunch box” this dish features various fried food items resting on a bed of chips. 

Twitter user @RossMcCaff posted an image of this incredible fried food bargain and people had a lot of questions about it. 

Some people actually complained about the quantity of the fried stuff in the box.

Some made suggestions about what should be included in the box of food.

McCafferty addressed many internetters’ concerns about the contents of the box.

Others viewed the crunch box more as an object worthy of anthropological analysis.

But the crunch box mostly left the Scots proud. Like this user, who was inspired by the box to sing the 1977 song ‘Caledonia,’ one of the Scottish national anthems. 

Take a good look at that crunch box. For as long as you live you’ll surely never see that many calories in one place. 

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