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Breakfast Briefing: Windows Phone's missing upgrade, adding 4G to the Nexus 4, Microsoft stores headed to UK

Breakfast briefing

Posted on 26 Nov 2012 at 08:54

Today's tech round-up includes the case of a missing Windows Phone upgrade, Microsoft's plans to open UK stores and how a hack could upgrade the Nexus 4 to work on LTE.

The case of the missing Windows Phone upgrade

When Microsoft announced its Windows Phone 8 plans back in the summer, it also offered Windows 7 users an olive branch in the shape of an upgrade that would include some of Windows Phone 8's features for the few early adopters that had bought into Windows Phone 7, which is fundamentally incompatible with the latest version.

However, a month after Windows 8 launched with much fanfare, the 7.8 upgrade has yet to appear and Windows-watcher Paul Thurrott points out on Supersite for Windows that's no way to treat your more loyal customers.

Hacking 4G into the Nexus 4

The Nexus 4 Android handset was not supposed to include 4G LTE service connections, but TechCrunch says it has found a software workaround that enables unused LTE processors in the handset to be switched on to provide faster connections.

The downside is that the chips are not compatible with the early EE network's 1,800MHz frequency, but the hack could still be useful when other networks start offering LTE next year, although certain Android functions, including Google Now, stop working after the tweak.

Microsoft planning stores in Europe

The Financial Times reports that Microsoft is planning on launching stores in Europe. According to the report, the company is already in talks with UK landlords, but will only make a move once it's worked out how well stores in the US are doing.

Is falling R&D spend to blame for HP's woes?

HP's R&D spend slid significantly under CEO Mark Hurd - remember him? - from more than 4% of revenue to less than 2.5% over five years. While one pundit said he "gutted R&D, which was the cardinal sin", Business Insider suggested that may not be the case.

Rival Apple, for example, spends about the same amount on R&D as HP does now, and far less than rivals such as Microsoft, Cisco and Google - yet doesn't appear to have a problem creating innovative products. "It's not how much you spend on R&D, it's what comes of it," the article noted.

Google closing Motorola sites

Google has continued to take the cost-saving shears to Motorola Mobility, cutting a wave of international websites of the company it bought for $12.5bn. According to The Next Web, sites across Europe, Asia and Africa have been closed because the company can't be sure products listed on the sites are actually available in all countries in the regions. "We are streamlining our business and support systems, and unfortunately, we'll no longer have a dedicated website for rest of Europe," Google says of the closures.

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User comments

WP7.5 Volume

Unless any WP7.5 update fixes the bonkers situation of having just one global volume setting, then I'm not interested.

I bought a Lumia 710 for a family member, but either I have to suffer screaming games sounds, or else risk the phone not being answered when I phone up.

Seriously, if the phone isn't going to be answered when someone calls it, it is half way to being useless, it is just a pocket games console with outgoing calls facility.

By martindaler on 26 Nov 2012

How well Microsoft stores in U.S. Are doing?

From Wikipedia: "In 2009, Microsoft built a "Retail Experience Center" in their Redmond, WA headquarters[8] and announced plans to build its own retail stores.[9] On October 22, 2009, the same day as the Windows 7 launch, Microsoft opened a retail store in Scottsdale, Arizona. A week later, another opened in Mission Viejo, California. Five additional stores were opened in 2010."

Andvthey

By BrownieBoy6 on 26 Nov 2012

Remainder!

...and they still don't know how well they're doing?

By BrownieBoy6 on 26 Nov 2012

@martindaler

Understand what you're saying about the global volume control but it is quite misleading to suggest you can't receive calls while playing games. As with all phones, you really can't miss a call coming in while using the phone - the game stops and the callers picture and name appear over the entire screen along with an intense vibration (assuming you're on silent). You are presented with options about how to handle the call. You really cannot miss it.

The global volume actually works for me. Further, there is no need to turn the volume down to zero to silence the ringer. Just turn to vibrate only. This does not affect music/game/video/app alerts volume.

However, I think you are looking for an update where the volume is muted for everything other than calls. A situation I've never felt I needed on account the phone doesn't make a noise if I'm not using it (i.e. playing games) and as such the problem cannot occur.

If, and I hope you do, get your desired change I hope it is not at the cost of the global volume we currently have. I would not like to control many different volume settings for a single device. So, with any luck the user can choose to enable global volume or manage them separately.

By onegin101 on 26 Nov 2012

On Windows Phone 7.8...

To be fair to Microsoft they did say it would be released 'some time after Windows Phone 8'. I appreciate that is vague but nowhere has there been any suggestion (that has any kind of reliable source) that WP7.8 was to be released this soon after WP8.

I had always assumed it would be Q1 2013 which would allow resource at MS to be monitoring the launch and uptake of WP8.

By onegin101 on 26 Nov 2012

Apple R&D

And there I was blindly taking SwissMac's word for it that Apple spends millions more than anyone else on R&D (and seemingly with very little to show for it)!

He must have meant aRt&Design.

By TheHonestTruth on 26 Nov 2012

WP 7.8

According to WMPowerUser the rumour is that WP 7.8 is being released on Wed 28th Nov.

By jgwilliams on 26 Nov 2012

@onegin101

'...Understand what you're saying about the global volume control...

I think you may have actually misunderstood what martindaler is saying about the global volume.

I took it to mean that if his family member (I'm assuming a child here) has the volume turned low while playing games, so as to not annoy parents, then goes out leaving the volume low they won't hear it ring should the parent call.

By synaptic_fire on 26 Nov 2012

@synaptic_fire

Yep, I think you're right.

I still think that having many volume settings would not be right for me. So, wile I hope that users who aren't happy with global volume get an update to make WP better for them I do hope it's in addition to the current situation.

By onegin101 on 26 Nov 2012

@martindaler

I don't know what games you're (or your son is) playing on WP7x but every game I have, has the option to turn game sounds off or adjust volume, totally independently of the phone's global volume.
Maybe a bit of research before shouting?

By nickallison on 26 Nov 2012

@synaptic_fire

@synaptic_fire: You got it!

@onegin101: believe it or not, I don't actually phone my kids whilst I we are both under the same roof. It is like synaptic_fire tells it.

@nickallison: I WASN'T SHOUTING! Neither do I want to have to adjust the volume on a per-game basis. Although, to be fair to you, no - I was not aware that was possible, so thank you.

For what it's worth, I'm not railing against MS or Nokia and I have nothing against either (otherwise I would not buy their product in the first place). I get the whole 'it's simpler' thing and can see the benefits over the complexities of Android. But in this instance I just think they have taken a good thing too far, could eat some humble pie and lose the 'not invented here' attitude.

By martindaler on 26 Nov 2012

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