I was thrilled when the Microsoft Lumia Connnects team asked me to attend the 2015 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (SPAIN!) with them this year. If you have never heard of this convention, it is the largest in the world for the mobile industry and a showplace for the latest tech gear and trends in smart phones. It was a whirlwind trip, but I did get to see some of the city (more on that later) and, of course, I heard about new tech coming from all the major players, especially Microsoft. We had a huge section of the exhibition hall, with a hot air balloon front and center that was broadcasting all the info coming out of the MWC. I have to say, it was pretty fun to getting an elbow in my side over and over as my tweets were appearing on that huge, round, glowing screen. Below the simulated hot air balloon was a real hot air balloon basket, housing two DJs, who gave us a great soundtrack while we explored the Microsoft goodies that will be released this Spring.
Here are my three favorite announcements from Microsoft at MWC.
1. Windows 10 consistent across devices
I knew this was coming. The “Metro” design was meant to be responsive and what is more responsive than having the same operating system from desktop to tablet to smartphone? We got a demonstration of how the UI would collapse down gracefully and what features would drop out when you don’t need them as you move from large to small screens. This will also help apps get into the Windows Phone ecosystem because they will now be “universal” – meaning they run across all devices. One more thing – YES! – My lovely friend Cortana will be on Windows 10 and she will remember you everywhere. In a good way of course. Like when you need to be reminded to pick up dog food. Which I often forget.
2. Universal Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard
I loved this! A small keyboard that folds up even smaller but is still sturdy and easy to type on. Best yet, it is universal, meaning it will connect to iPhone and Android as well as Windows Phone + Surface Tablets. And it has ridiculously long battery life as well (three months). This works great for us tech nerds who have multiple devices – we only need one keyboard for traveling! I don’t know about you, but I am ready to throw all my cords into a dumpster – and this will be one step in that direction. Price is set for $100 USD and will be on shelves soon.
3. Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL
It was very clear (when I say clear, I mean it was strongly hinted) that a high-end “flagship” Lumia Windows Phone would come later this year with the arrival of Windows 10. It was also clear the Microsoft is interested in providing phones for all kinds of users, and the 640 is a solid choice for the budget-conscious among us because the specs are strong for the price ($155-$244 depending on configuration). The Lumia 640 measures 5.5 x 2.8 x 0.35 inches and weighs 5.11 ounces. It has an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 0.9 megapixel front camera. It has a 2500 mAh battery for up to 26 hours of talk time. The Lumia 640 XL measures 6.2 x 3.1 x 0.35 inches and weighs 6 ounces. It has a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front The battery for the Lumia 640 XL comes in at 3,000 mAh. Both phones will have a Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor running at 1.2 GHz and will have 1 GB of memory. Each phone will come with a one year subscription to Office 365 Personal for the Lumia device, as well as for one PC or Mac and one tablet, plus 1TB of OneDrive storage and 60 free minutes per month of Skype worldwide calling. They will start on Windows Phone 8 and upgrade to Windows Phone 10 when it is released later this year. Last but not least, the colored versions of these photos have a dual-painty-system (not the technical term) that make them appear to glow. Photos just don’t do it justice, but OBVIOUSLY I want an orange one.
There you have it! More posts to come about the new people I met (it was truly an international crowd), the learning sessions we had (including those DJs), and – of course- Barcelona. I can’t thank the Connects team enough for having me along.