It’s hard to compete with free. Google currently dominates the smartphone space by giving away its Android operating system for free to anyone that wants to install it. If Google makes money from Android, it’s largely due to revenue from apps sold in the Play Store and the increased use of Google services by Android customers.
So maybe it shouldn’t be all that surprising that Microsoft is considering giving away Windows Phone and Windows RT software for free to device makers that want to use it. But it still kind of is… because Microsoft has historically made a huge chunk of its money by licensing operating systems.
Still, the world has changed since Bill Gates started working on DOS, and The Verge reports that Microsoft is seriously considering offering free versions of its software. The move could help Microsoft gain market share, and it could theoretically then make up for lost revenue with in-app ads, subscription services, and revenue from apps sold in the Windows Store.
Here’s a roundup of tech news from around the web.
- Microsoft might offer Windows RT, Windows Phone for free to device makers
At this point Nokia sells the lion’s share of Windows Phone devices and it’s the only company besides Microsoft to sell Windows RT devices… and Microsoft is buying Nokia. So it wasn’t going to get much money from licensing these operating systems anyway. [The Verge]
- Report: Upcoming Nokia Normandy could be a low-end Android phone
Nokia’s smartphone efforts may currently be tied up in Windows Phone and Asha devices… but it looks like the company might have a low-end Android handset in the works. [The Verge]
- Early version of Valve’s SteamOS launches Friday
SteamOS is a Linux-based operating system designed to run Valve’s Steam gaming platform, and Steam Machines will be computers built to run the OS. The first beta units go out on Friday, December 13th, and Valve will release the first public builds of the operating system at the same time, for folks who don’t get one of the 300 beta units. [Valve]
- Google releases Android Device Manager app for Android
Want to locate your missing phone, send a remote lock or wipe command? Now you can do that from… your phone. Or you know, another Android device. [Google Play]
- Google Play Books now lets you upload eBooks from an Android device
Have EPUB books on your phone that you didn’t get from Google, but that you’d like to read with Play Books? Now you can upload them from your Android phone or tablet. [Android Police]
- Sailfish OS ported to run on the Nokia N9
Want to run Sailfish (the spiritual successor to MeeGo) on the Nokia N9, an aging MeeGo phone? Now you can. [The Register]
- OwnCloud 6 released, build your own personal cloud services
Like the idea of a web-based calendar, contact manager, and file storage service, but don’t want to give your data to Google, Apple, Microsoft, or others? Just roll your own, using this open source tool. [Web Upd8]
- Qualcomm’s Toq Smartwatch is now available from Amazon for $350
Want a smartwatch with a display you don’t have to turn off? This model has Qualcomm’s low-power, sunlight-readable Mirasol display. Unfortunately it isn’t cheap. [Amazon]