Microsoft on Monday unveiled its latest Windows 10 Mobile device, the Lumia 650. Priced at a suggested retail price of $199 (approximately Rs. 13,500) before local taxes and subsidies, the smartphone will go on sale in select European markets starting Thursday.
At the time of writing, the Microsoft Lumia 650 was also listed on the company’s India website in a dual-SIM variant, indicating that we may only see the Microsoft Lumia 650 Dual SIM in India. Unfortunately, the India listing currently only has the phone listed without any details about pricing.
The Redmond giant stresses that the Lumia 650 will offer consumers the “perfect balance between work and personal needs.”
Much like other Windows 10 devices, the Lumia 650 packs Microsoft suite of productivity apps including Office apps, for creating and editing documents on-the-go; OneDrive, for cloud storage, and Cortana, Microsoft’s personal assistant.
Microsoft adds that the Lumia 650 fits “perfectly into the enterprise with built-in support for Microsoft business apps.” The company says that the Lumia 650 will allows IT to “test the latest Windows 10 Mobile updates against critical line of business systems and apps”, before it’s distributed to end users via MDM.
For specifications, the Microsoft Lumia 650 runs Windows 10 Mobile and features a 5-inch Amoled ClearBlack display with HD (720×1280 pixels) resolution. It offers a pixel density of 297ppi. Powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 212, the handset is clocked at 1.3GHz clubbed with 1GB of RAM. It packs 16GB of built-in storage and supports expandable storage via microSD card (up to 200GB). The Lumia 650 is backed by a 2000mAh battery and supports Nano-SIM. There is no difference in innards between the Lumia 650 and its dual-SIM variant. The biggest difference however is that the Lumia 650 Dual SIM comes with dual-SIM slots.
The smartphone sports an 8-megapixel rear autofocus camera with LED flash. There is a 5-megapixel front camera also on board.
Microsoft has started rolling out Windows 10 Mobile 10.0.10586.107 February cumulative update to its latest smartphones – the Microsoft Lumia 950 and the Lumia 950 XL. The update will be reaching open market variants initially, followed by other variants over the next week.
The update includes improvements in reliability and stability; Bluetooth connectivity with car and other accessories; PDF rendering and navigation in Microsoft Edge, and battery usage with Iris Recognition for Windows Hello. It also fixes an issue where users witnessed phone software updates and app downloads stuck at zero percent for extended time periods.
As mentioned in the Microsoft Community forum, the Windows 10 Mobile update would now require the handset to be plugged into a charger when downloading and preparing phone software updates. It also fixes issues causing wrong low storage prompts when trying to download phone software updates; issues causing wrong prompts of Outlook account settings being out-of-date, although account settings had not been changed, as well as issues causing phones to get stuck on BitLocker Recovery screen after a reset.
To check for updates, Microsoft Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL users can tap through to Settings > Update & security > Phone update > Check for updates.
Microsoft on Wednesday finally starting seeding firmware updates for both the Surface Book and the Surface Pro 4 that claim to fix the battery drain issue as well as bring other system stability improvements. The users have been complaining about battery drain and wake-up issues since the launch of the products, and Microsoft addressed the issue in December – saying it would provide an update sometime this year to fix the problems.
Skype last month introduced the group video calling feature for Android, iOS, and Windows 10 Mobile. The firm at that time said the feature will roll out to users over the coming weeks. The company on Thursday finally started rolling out group video calling on Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.
The company adds that the feature is limited to Western Europe and North America region for now but will soon be rolled out in other regions as well. It plans to make group video calling feature fully available worldwide by next month. It is worth mentioning that Skype already supported group video calls but only for those who opted for Skype for Business. The feature is now available to non-subscribers too.
Users will now be able to make Skype full-screen immersive video calls in HD quality and optimised for the devices callers are using. The person calling is displayed front and centre. The feature also makes use of the company’s native SILK Super Wide Band audio codec for ‘crystal clear’ voice. “To achieve this, we’re proud to have worked with one of Microsoft’s biggest partners, Intel, which helped enable us to optimize SILK Audio specifically for Azure running on Intel processors,” said Microsoft.
In addition, users can switch between a grid view or a switch to focus view where Skype automatically focuses on the active speaker, or lets callers choose which participant to ‘Pin’ to the stage. Users can also call others to join Skype simply via a link via email, WhatsApp, Messenger, Twitter, or Facebook.
Over the past few months, we’ve seen smartphones such as the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL getting so powerful that they can nearly serve as a Windows 10 desktop when connected to a display. We also have miniature computers such as the Raspberry Pi that can be plugged into a display and work as a full-fledged PC. Nex Computer, a Bay Area, California-based company has an idea to provide hardware for such machines.
Called the NexDock, it is a device that works in conjunction with select Windows 10 Mobilesmartphones and other miniature PCs and serves as a fully functional laptop. The NexDock is currently seeking funding from interested users on the crowdfunding platform IndieGogo. Users can show their support for the device and place an order for one for as low as $119 (roughly Rs. 8,100).
The NexDock sports a 14.1-inch display with a screen resolution of 1366×768 pixels. There’s also a 10000mAh battery to keep the device running, alongside a Mini-HDMI port, two USB ports, and one headphone jack. Alongside a keyboard, the NexDock seems like a normal laptop, except that it doesn’t have a processor. The NexDock requires a Windows 10 Mobile smartphone or a miniature PC such as the Intel Compute Stick or Asus Chromebit for the processing power.
“Microsoft introduced a promising direction with Windows 10 Mobile OS with Continuum feature and we hope to bring more productivity to Windows 10 smartphones with NexDock,” said Emre Kosmaz, founder of Nex Computer LLC to Gadgets 360 in a statement.
“You can also get more productivity with NexDock with the smallest PCs, tablets to transform them the most affordable laptops and it is only the first step to our vision. In the future, we want to design docks with better integrated Mini PCs. By separating processor & OS from the displays, we are hoping to start a paradigm shift in consumer electronics which would enable less electronic waste for environment and a better computer to match customers’ exact needs,” he added.
It is worth pointing out that currently only a few smartphones offer Continuum, a Windows 10 Mobile feature. These smartphones are the Lumia 950 and the Lumia 950 XL. Some of the recently launched smartphones such as the Lumia 650 too don’t offer this feature. Microsoft recently explained why only some smartphones can currently make use of Continuum.
Microsoft on Monday revealed its latest Windows 10 Mobile device, the Lumia 650 and stressed that the new device will be a perfect fit for consumers looking at built-in support for Microsoft business apps at an affordable price.
Much like other Windows 10 devices, the Lumia 650 packs Microsoft suite of productivity apps including Office apps, for creating and editing documents on-the-go; OneDrive, for cloud storage, and Cortana, Microsoft’s personal assistant. One of the biggest surprises with the Lumia 650’s launch however, was that it doesn’t feature the most notable feature of Windows 10 Mobile – Continuum – which allows users to connect the smartphone to a display and use it as a Windows 10 computer with a desktop-like interface.
A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the reasons for the omission to SlashGear, saying, “We are aiming to deliver the most productive Windows 10 Mobile devices at all price points. With the Microsoft Lumia 650, our goal was to create a beautiful device that’s affordable for businesses to buy and deploy. In this price range we are giving customers smart business tools, including seamless Office and OneDrive integration and Cortana, so users can stay productive and synced across all Windows 10 devices. We encourage users looking for Continuum productivity features to explore the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL.”
For those unaware, with the Windows 10 Continuum feature users can hook their smartphones with a monitor along with a mouse and keyboard, using the Microsoft Display Dock. Once connected, the phone’s user interface switches to an interface that looks like a Windows 10 desktop with Start menu and other elements.
Continuum for Phone support page also lists some of the reasons why the Microsoft Lumia 650 misses out the feature. According to the page, minimum requirements for Continuum for phones include Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 (MS8952), Snapdragon 808 (MSM8992), and Snapdragon 810 (MS8994) processors; 2GB RAM for phones with display resolution support for HD (720×1280 pixels); 16GB of non-removable storage; Bluetooth 4.0; supports at least Wi-Fi 802.11n dual band; supports Windows 10 Miracast extensions, and USB 2.0.