Mobile

Windows Phone: Still Stagnant

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I’ve always been interested in Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system. Ever since its initial debut, rising from the ashes of its old, but fairly successful Windows Mobile platform, the new mobile operating system seemed innovative and full of promise. Yet it was always lagging behind the crowd in one way or another.

Having been the owner of a Nokia Lumia 635, one of the current generation handsets sporting Microsoft’s latest Windows Phone 8.1 OS. As someone who’s previously had earlier handsets, I’m still disappointed.

Why Windows Phone is lagging behind:

  • Lack of third party developer support

This is a big one. While the petty wars of whose app store has the highest number of fart and soundboard apps is (hopefully) behind us for the time being, I can’t help but notice the lack of software support that Windows Phone currently suffers. Only recently did we the struggling platform get an official Instagram client, users have been stuck using third party clients to access many popular services, and even the official Windows Phone versions of apps aren’t given nearly the same update priority or attention by developers. Microsoft has been making great effort to court developers, however their efforts have still proven to be largely fruitless..

  • “Me too” features

In the early days of the platform, Microsoft spun Windows Phone as being a radically different approach to the smartphone. The mobile version of Internet Explorer included on Windows Phone still chokes when trying to render modern websites. Cortana, while a nice addition is still rough around the edges in comparison to polished alternatives like Google Now and Apple’s flagship Siri. Additionally, the company’s entry into wearable technology though the Microsoft band (and its integration with Windows Phone) left consumers hanging, as it felt like a half-baked attempt at joining the cavalcade of wearables flooding the market.

  • An Uncertain Future

When Microsoft made the jump to Windows Phone 8, existing WP7 handsets were left out in the cold. Officially, the company has stated that the upcoming Windows 10, which will unify theĀ  company’s desktop and mobile efforts will support all existing Windows Phone 8.1 handsets, but given Redmond’s track record I won’t be holding my breath.

In conclusion, these problems are mainly affecting Windows Phone’s feasibility as a mainstream consumer / business smartphone platform. For those looking for an entry level feature phone, Windows Phones still shine and Microsoft may be able to give the developing market a run for its money. But when the choice is between the best of breed iOS, Android devices and Microsoft’s limited choices, Windows Phone 8.1 is a tough sell.

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Broadband Networking

Comcast Gives an IPv6 Christmas Gift to High Speed Internet Customers

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Comcast. Love them or hate them they are undoubtedly America’s largest cable Internet provider, and while their service is often complained about and customer service fails to take care of things (more often than not), they seem to have gotten things right with stepping up their rollout of the latest version of Internet technologies.

As of December 25th, the cable Internet provider turned on IPv6 support in a larger portion of the areas it serves- a nice Christmas gift indeed.

Why is it important?

IPv6, or Internet protocol version 6 is the latest version of what powers the very underpinnings of the world wide web, allowing everything from web browsing to online gaming.

The new version is needed to make sure that home Internet connections are “future proof”. With more and more devices being connected to the Internet, there has been a strain on the availability of space on the web. Similar to an area code running out of phone numbers, IPv4 which powers almost all of the Internet today can only support roughly 4.3 billion IP addresses.

With the much fabled “Internet of things” upon us – with everything from wearable technology to the cloud services that power modern smartphones, it is without question that the demand for Internet capacity will very quickly climb past the capacity offered by limited protocols such as the dominant IPv4. Adopting IPv6 now is a smart move- as it will be increasingly necessary in the future in order to access the full internet..

You can test your IPv6 connectivity by using a tool such as the one at test-ipv6.com

If everything is working, and you have home networking equipment that supports the new standard, you should get a result such as mine below (blacked out for privacy):

ipv6

 

IPv6 will continue to operate alongside the current v4 systems already in use today. The protocol also offers several significant advantages, and eliminates problems found in workarounds such as NAT (which will be explored in future posts.)

Taking the steps to be ready for the future of the Internet today will definitely be beneficial in the future, especially as future websites go IPv6 only.

 

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Announcements

We’re Back!

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I’m pleased to announce that after a two year hiatus, TechCentral will be returning. I had to take a break from technology blogging due other projects consuming my ever-shrinking allotment of time, but blogging about the latest developments in technology has always been something near and dear to my heart.

TechCentral is the perfect place to do just that. We will focus on some aspects of modern technology not fully covered by the popular sites in addition to providing useful guides and tutorials / videos for our community.

There’s no fixed schedules, and the plan is to just “let the site happen” for now until we decide upon a niche, so the site will likely be evolving in the coming weeks.

Please don’t hesitate to get involved or offer us suggestions- this time around we want to make the site even better than before.

Fasten your seatbelts.

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