Weekend Wrap-Up: Microsoft Drops Nokia Brand; Google Launches 'Inbox' for Email
Happy Sunday! It’s time for the Weekend Wrap-Up, where we cover the biggest tech stories from the past week. Companies making headlines this week include Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Sony.
Let’s get to it.
Microsoft Drops Nokia Brand
Some big changes are coming to Nokia’s Lumia brand — well, one big change at least. The “Nokia” part of the name? It’s going away. This news comes courtesy of Nokia’s French brand page on Facebook, which let users know through a post that the name of the page would be changing in the coming days to “Microsoft Lumia.” It makes sense, as Microsoft is trying to further its own brand, and propping up Nokia doesn’t do much to further that cause.
Google Launches ‘Inbox’ App for Email
Gmail is one of the most popular email services in the world. Google wouldn’t be interested in disrupting that experience, right? Not so fast. Google is currently testing out a new app called “Inbox” that brings the best of Gmail and Google Now together. As of now, access to the app, which is on both iOS and Android, is invite-only. It’s also restricted to those with a Gmail.com account — sorry, Google Apps users. We’ll let you know if Google widens the net for this app in the future.
Amazon Writes Down $170 Million on the Fire Phone
The Amazon Fire Phone is an extremely popular smartphone — amongst warehouses. You see, the company manufactured a pretty hefty number of the phones, but selling them has presented itself as a challenge. As such, Amazon has written down $170 million thanks to the Fire Phone. We weren’t surprised — heck, we told you that the Fire Phone would have trouble against stiff competition from Apple and the various Android devices out here — but it seems Amazon believed in its smartphone a lot more than everyone else. What will Amazon do with all that remaining stock? We’ll have to wait and see.
Sony Updating PS4 with New OS and Share Play Feature
Microsoft’s Xbox One has been issuing monthly updates that have drastically changed the console since its November 2013 launch, and now Sony’s PS4 is set to add an update of its own. Sony will be pushing out new software this coming week that will provide the PlayStation 4 with a new operating system, and will also add the much-awaited “Share Play” feature, which allows gamers to hand off control to a remote friend over the Internet. It’s the next-generation of couch gaming, according to Sony. Is it really, though? We’ll find out this week.