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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 at this point, with sales dropping 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, 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). 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 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
— Andrew Wade (@ajwade85) February 15, 2016
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, 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. 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, 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.