Thurrott Daily: December 18

Posted on December 18, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, iOS, Mobile, Windows Phones with 16 Comments

Thurrott Daily: December 18

Typical weekend at stately Thurrott Manor.

Tech tidbits from around the web.

12/18/2016 10:38:23 AM

Microsoft and Mobile World Congress … Not that big, sorry

I’m seeing some news reports popping up about potentially exciting Microsoft developments at Mobile World Congress in February, including some rather sad ones I will not link to that suggest—or even overtly state—that we can expect a Surface phone announcement at the event. That is not happening. The site referred below is simply the same thing Microsoft has done at MWC each of the past few years, and they are not actually a major part of the show. Point being, you might want to temper your excitement: I’d be surprised if they event provided an update on Windows 10 on ARM, to be honest. Anyway. Here’s how Neowin is reporting it. They take a more measured approach to this than some, which is smart.

As the mysterious Walking Cat (@h0x0d) spotted, Microsoft has launched a site – which it set up in the last ten days – for partners and other important visitors to arrange meetings with the company at MWC 2017.

The site invites visitors to “join us at Mobile World Congress 2017”, and includes the familiar Windows 10 tagline, “do great things”.

What’s not yet clear is exactly how Microsoft will present itself at MWC 2017.

They may literally have no formal presence at all. This could literally just be back-door meetings, since everyone is in one place at the same time. And the “great things” Microsoft will do with its partners won’t happen for months if not years.

A quick reminder about Photosynth

I answered an email from a reader this morning who reported that Microsoft’s Photosynth mobile apps were shutting down as of February 2017. Microsoft actually announced this in mid-2015, but I barely covered it. Which was my mistake. But if this is somehow a surprise to, please read this.

We are retiring the Photosynth mobile apps. We are doing this because the new Photosynth Preview technology and its cloud processing is a more immersive way to capture a place than the spherical panoramas that our apps produce.

If you use the Photosynth Windows Phone App or the Photosynth iOS App you can continue to use it, but it is now officially unsupported, and will not be maintained going forward. Both apps will be withdrawn from their respective stores.

Because the app is now unsupported, we strongly encourage people to upload their panoramas to is still maintained and you will be able to view your panoramas online with or without the Photosynth app. Panoramas can be made public, or kept unlisted to protect your privacy

Google Wallet gets a new web experience

Google announced this past week that it has updated the Google Wallet experience on the web. So. Here you go.

We’re excited to introduce the new Google Wallet web experience just in time for the holidays. Available across all browsers, the updated Wallet website has a brand new look and added features, which will make planning that New Year’s trip with friends a breeze.

You can send what you owe to your friend’s email address or phone number, and they can quickly transfer the money to their bank account – all without installing an app

Ah, right. Google Wallet isn’t Google’s electronic wallet experience anymore; that’s Android Pay. Google Wallet is like a version of PayPal that only works between individuals. Stupid. This should all be one thing.

This is the definition of insanity

Some say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I say it’s trying to put Android on a three-year-old Windows phone that was underpowered when it launched. Android Police reports.

A few days ago, XDA developer banmeifyouwant posted a video of his in-progress CyanogenMod 13 port to the Lumia 525. The video shows CM13, based on Android 6.0, booting on the device as well as opening and closing apps.

The developer only demonstrated the 525 booting, but he is currently working on kernel tweaks to allow the 520 to boot as well. He intended on releasing an installer and the source code in the near future, but his Lumia 525’s EMMC died, leaving him without a dev device.

Running any form of Android on a Windows Phone device is impressive, and I wish him the best of luck.

It’s not impressive, it’s futile. And pretending otherwise is, sorry, insane.

Android apps on Chromebook aren’t measuring up to expectations so far

So Android on Windows phone makes no sense, but how about Android apps on Chromebook? I am cautiously optimistic that this could be a game changer for Chromebooks, but it’s fair to say, too, that getting this working is taking longer than Google promised. And as James Martin from CIO points out, it may be because it just doesn’t work very well yet.

At the moment, [only] three different Chromebooks can run Android apps on the Chrome OS. However, that doesn’t mean the apps work well.

The ability to install Android apps on a Chromebook is a cool concept … but right now it’s a decidedly beta experience.

For example, I downloaded Microsoft Word and Dropbox Android apps from the Google Play Store. It’s easy enough to open text files from Dropbox and edit them in the Word app, but saving the edited files back to your Dropbox account isn’t intuitive at all. The Chromebook saved files I edited deep in its folder structure, with no easy way to sync them back to their original Dropbox folders.

Using the online version of Word in the Chrome browser, I had no issues opening files from my Dropbox account, editing them, and then saving them back to their original Dropbox folders. That’s a much better user experience.

He has more examples. And he’s right, this needs to be fixed.

Vine gets a reprieve, of sorts

For me, Vine sits somewhere between Periscope and ornithology on the “it’s interesting” spectrum, but I know some people will care about this. Vine reports:

In October we let you know that we’re shutting down Vine.

Here’s what’s coming: in January, we’re transitioning the Vine app to a pared-down Vine Camera. With this camera app you’ll still be able to make six-second looping videos, and either post them directly to Twitter or save them to your phone.

You can now download your Vines through the app or the website. All of your Vines will continue to live on the website so you can browse all of the amazing videos you created over the years.

See our FAQ for more details.


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