Tech News

Microsoft Commits to Windows 10 Mobile, YouTube Ads You Can’t Skip… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 27-04-2016

Microsoft hasn’t given up on Windows 10 Mobile, YouTube launches unskippable ads, Microsoft releases Word Flow for iPhone, Amazon improves FreeTime Unlimited, and Apple extols the virtues of onions.


Windows 10 Mobile Is Still a Thing

Microsoft’s mobile ambitions appear to have waned of late. Windows 10 Mobile was nowhere to be seen at Build 2016, and Terry Myersen, Microsoft’s Vice President of Windows and Devices, has since made it clear smartphones aren’t the company’s focus for the time being.

However, in an internal email obtained by Windows Central, Myersen makes it clear that Microsoft is still committed to Windows 10 Mobile. The email, which was sent to various executives and partners, reads:

“I understand that you are hearing concerns from certain partners about Microsoft’s commitment to the mobile space. Let me be very clear: We are committed to deliver Windows 10 on mobile devices with small screen running ARM processors.”

“We are currently in development of our next generation products and I wanted to reconfirm our commitment to Windows 10 Mobile. We believe in this product’s value to business customers and it is our intention to support the Windows 10 Mobile platform for many years. We have a device roadmap to support that from Microsoft as well as our OEM partners who will also be selling an expanded lineup of phone devices based on this platform.”

The wording strongly suggests that Microsoft is feeling the pressure from certain quarters regarding the future of Windows 10 Mobile. Windows Phone is pretty much dead MakeUseOf Says Goodbye To Windows Phone This is going to be a tearful goodbye, buddy, but it has to happen. MakeUseOf will soon be parting ways with Windows Phone. Read More at this point, with sales dropping Windows Phone Is Dead, Amazon Builds Spotify Killer... [Tech News Digest] Windows Phone sales are laughably small, Amazon rumored to be targeting Spotify, Apple recalls 12 years-worth of power adapters, Netflix gets blocked in Indonesia, and The Angry Birds Movie in all its glory. Read More and Microsoft rumored to be clearing its inventory of stock.

However, Microsoft isn’t giving up without a fight, and with Windows 10 set to be around for a long time The Latest Windows 10 Version Won't Be the Last One What is the latest Windows 10 version? How long is it supported? And why did Microsoft switch to a service model? Answers within! Read More , Windows 10 Mobile represents the company’s last chance to gain a foothold alongside Android and iOS. Which, between them, have the mobile market sewn up (sorry, BlackBerry fans).

Those “next generation products” need to be genuinely brilliant if Microsoft is to persuade anyone to ditch their current operating system and switch to Windows 10 Mobile. Unfortunately, it looks as though we will have to wait until 2017 to see what hardware Microsoft has up its sleeves.


You Can’t Skip These YouTube Ads

YouTube is launching a new type of ad to complement the existing ad units it delivers to users. The good news is that the new format, called Bumper ads, are only six-seconds long. The bad news is that you cannot skip them. You can watch an example of these Bumper ads above, with Atlantic Records being an early tester.

This is YouTube adapting to both the way people are watching videos and the types of video that are proving popular. People are increasingly watching on mobile, and don’t want to sit through a 30-second ad to get to the content. And a 30-second ad makes no sense when the actual content is shorter than the ad itself.

On Google’s Inside AdWords blog, Zach Lupei, YouTube’s Product Manager of YouTube Video Ads, said, “We like to think of Bumper ads as little haikus of video ads — and we’re excited to see what the creative community will do with them”.

YouTube viewers will begin seeing Bumper ads showing up before videos from May (unless of course they’re YouTube Red subscribers Is YouTube Premium Worth the Cost? 7 Things You Need to Consider Is YouTube Premium's cost worth it? We look into the pros and cons of YouTube's paid version. Read More ). And if past form is anything to go on, viewers will make their feelings clear on the format in the comments sections below videos employing these ads.


Microsoft Releases Word Flow for iOS

Microsoft has now released Word Flow for iOS in the United States. Word Flow is a keyboard app which lets you tap or swipe to type out words, intelligently predicting what words you would want to write to complete sentences. It also features a one-handed Arc option which transforms the keyboard into an arc.

Word Flow was offered for testing Google Abandons XP and Vista, Uninstall QuickTime for Windows... [Tech News Digest] Google Chrome no longer supports XP & Vista, QuickTime on Windows is vulnerable, Microsoft's Word Flow keyboard comes to iOS, Vine makes it easier to watch content, and the Game of Thrones opening in 360... Read More a couple of weeks ago, but is now available for free on the App Store [No longer available]. Microsoft originally developed Word Flow for Windows Phone, but is now expanding its appeal to other operating systems. There is no word yet on Word Flow for iOS being released in countries other than the U.S.

Amazon Adds More Content for Tweens

Amazon has added a slew of new content to FreeTime Unlimited, and it’s all aimed at kids aged between 9 and 12. Amazon FreeTime Unlimited is a subscription service full of kid-friendly apps, books, and games, and there are now 13,000 individual pieces of content.


The initial selection of content was aimed at kids aged between 3 and 8, so these additions essentially expand the potential customer base significantly. Amazon FreeTime Unlimited costs $2.99-per-month for Prime members Which Amazon Prime Subscription Is Right for You? Potential subscribers formerly only had one option when it came to Amazon Prime. However, now, Amazon is offering three different subscription plans so you can pick the one that best suits your needs. Read More , and $4-per-month for everybody else.

Apple Sells the iPhone 6s With Onions

And finally, on the same day that Apple announced its first quarterly revenue drop in 13 years, the company released a new ad selling the iPhone 6s iPhone 6s Review and Giveaway Spoiler alert: if you like iPhones, you’re probably going to love the iPhone 6s. But are you really surprised? Read More . This ad is rather peculiar in comparison to Apple’s usual fare, taking one feature and running with it in an obtuse manner.

A young girl shoots a close-up video of her mom cutting red onions. Her short film gets some attention, goes viral, blows people’s minds, and eventually wins her an award. And all because the iPhone 6s is capable of shooting 4K video.

This may seem far-fetched, but then we have seen some thoroughly entertaining iPhone movies 5+ Awesome iPhone Movies Guaranteed to Entertain You To inspire you in your quest to make movies on your iPhone, let's look at five short films (plus some bonus videos) to see what filmmakers have been doing with their iDevices. Read More , so it could happen.


Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Have you given up on Windows 10 Mobile? How do you feel about unskippable YouTube ads? Will you be getting Word Flow for your iPhone? Do you subscribe to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited? Have you ever shot 4K video on your smartphone?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

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  1. Dave Parrack
    April 29, 2016 at 9:46 am

    I'm sure there are ways around them, but the "unskippable" refers to there being no default option to skip past them. The idea is to get you watching the whole thing ahead of a short video clip, as no one is watching the 30-second ads to the end.

  2. Anonymous
    April 27, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    "Windows 10 Mobile Is Still a Thing"
    Q: What do you call repeating something over and over, expecting a different result?
    A: Insanity.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 29, 2016 at 9:44 am

      What do you think is going to happen from here then? Microsoft simply cannot afford to ignore the mobile market.

      • Anonymous
        April 29, 2016 at 8:39 pm

        I'm not sure, but what Microsoft is doing (foisting the Universal Windows Platform and the Microsoft Store on us) surely is not working. As few developers are using UWP as they did .NET; and developers that have an entire Internet to sell their products on aren't jumping for joy at Microsoft taking a 30% cut of the sales.

  3. Curt
    April 27, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    The three people using a Windows Mobile phone should be thrilled.

  4. Anonymous
    April 27, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    You can't skip 30 second ads until after 5 seconds, so I hope that nobody will raise any serious objections to 6 second adverts.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 29, 2016 at 9:44 am

      You'd be surprised.

      • Anonymous
        April 30, 2016 at 6:14 am

        Oh, I wouldn't be surprised if people complain. I actually rather expect it (especially from people already using adblockers who wouldn't be affected anyway). But I do hope that they won't, even if I know that it is a vain hope.

  5. Anonymous
    April 27, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    How are the ads made unskippable? Unless they're directly part of the video stream, they can be differentiated from the primary content and removed through some combination of scripting and content blocking.