Editorials

Listening to podcasts on the go is one of my favorite pastimes, a great way to catch up with the latest news or a special interest. For those of us who reside outside of North America, podcast support has been a bit limited to say the least. Unlike our pals in the US, we cannot subscribe to podcasts through the marketplace on either Zune desktop software or directly using the phone. Annoying, but Mango at least introduced a half-workable solution. Unfortunately, after the Tango update it’s no longer possible to use that either.

To subscribe to podcasts prior to Tango, first we needed to set them up in the Zune desktop suite. Once subscribed, simply plugging in the phone and synchronising would pass the podcast to it. Podcasts would the automatically download without further PC interaction. Alas, this is now not the case. What’s going on?

More →
5
loading...
0
loading...
23
loading...
0
loading...

It’s a bit late in coming, but at last we have an official wrap-up of our time spent at Casual Connect Seattle this year. Unlike the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), which is a console-focused event, Casual Connect centers around casual games – a ‘genre’ or subset found mostly on smartphones, tablets, and PCs.  As such, we ventured forth in hopes of scoring some juicy Windows Phone games coverage as well as gauging the casual gaming industry’s feelings towards Microsoft’s smartphone platform in general.

Head past the break to see what we learned, plus links to all of our exclusive Casual Connect coverage!

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
17
loading...
0
loading...

The last few weeks have been exciting for Windows Phone with all the leaks concerning Windows Phone 8 hardware. The launch is almost upon us and of course, we’re all excited about the phones we’re likely to see. The next gen specs, even on the rumoured low end devices, are a big jump for Windows Phone. But will high-end devices from Samsung and HTC excite? Let’s look at the situation.

As we only have rumours so far, you’ll have to take the following with pinches of salt as we speculate somewhat. To start with, let’s cast our eye over the proposed Samsung devices. No doubt on paper these devices look the part but delving deeper we can clearly see that their high-end device is likely along the lines of a Galaxy S3. Will a recent flagship Android device serve as the high-end launch device for Windows Phone 8?

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
35
loading...
0
loading...

Howdy folks, your grouchy but occasionally lovable editor here for our new segment, appropriately titled From the Editor’s Desk. (Truth be told, it’s more of a couch-n-laptop kind of setup rather than a desk, because that’s how I roll).

Here at Mobile Nations, all the site editors are doing these posts on Sundays as a way to recap the week’s news, our opinions on things and anything coming up. I encourage you to check out iMore, Android Central and CrackBerry for their often hilarious insight. As usual, I’m a bit behind them but I’m slowly catching up.

This past week we had an odd combo of August-slowness combined with breaking leaks of new Nokia phones. There was also that Metro-controversy, which turned out to be nothing and of course Nokia and Microsoft announcing that they’re going steady…err...having a press conference.

More →
1
loading...
3
loading...
30
loading...
0
loading...

Microsoft all of a sudden loves cyan & magenta, we wonder why. Oh, right...

Throw this under just observations we’ve noticed in the last few months with some of Microsoft’s new hardware but it looks to us like they are adopting some of Nokia’s more bold design efforts.

The latest being the usage of cyan and magenta for some of their hardware, like the Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500, which gained two new Nokia colors this week.

More →
0
loading...
10
loading...
61
loading...
0
loading...

We had a chance to sit down and chat with Thom Brenner, Vice President of Location and Commerce for Nokia and Pino Bonetti who writes about location on the Nokia Conversations blog. We wanted to hear what Nokia are planning for the future with its location services, which the company has touted as its main focus and differentiator for Windows Phone.

Being number one in location and mapping is not anything new to Nokia as they have been at this game for many years, ever since they purchased NAVTEQ back in 2007 for a reported $8.1B. Their services power products from Microsoft, Yahoo, Flickr and four out of five cars on the road today use Nokia mapping technology. Nokia have announced their intention to be the “where” company, making location services the very heart of what they do.

Mapping and location are set to get a big boost from this drive, as Windows Phone users we will be pole position to see some of those fantastic innovations.

More →
8
loading...
0
loading...
82
loading...
0
loading...

How close are we to a Nokia Windows Phone 8 device?

If there is one thing we can say about Nokia and Microsoft lately is that both companies have faith in their products. Whatever the sales or marketshare figures show, the Windows Phone OS and Nokia hardware are a brilliant combo.

So we’re relishing the words by Chris Webber, Nokia’s Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, who Tweeted this morning a nice little message to rival Samsung:

“Samsung take note, next generation Lumia coming soon.”

It is a bit unusual for companies to directly call each other out so publicly, which is why this probably has garnered so much attention. If we wanted to deconstruct that tweet a bit we could highlight the usage of “note” by Weber as a hint to Nokia’s upcoming Windows Phone 8 plans. Samsung has quite successfully launched and sold a few GALAXY Notes in recent months (see our hands on when we compared it to the HTC Titan).

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
46
loading...
0
loading...

One of the bigger stories to catch fire today was the idea that Microsoft were to start denying Windows 8 app certification to developers who use ‘Metro’ in their app's name. 

The story originated from documentation found on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) that was quite crystal clear on the matter stating such apps will “…fail certification and won't be listed in the Windows Store”.

That wording has now been removed.

We are now getting confirmation through various channels that the wording found today in that documentation had not been added recently, meaning there has been no change in policy. Instead what we are looking at is documentation that had not been updated to reflect the official Windows 8 app certification requirements.

Yup, it was in error.

More →
7
loading...
5
loading...
62
loading...
0
loading...

The location services on your Windows Phone can come in handy for navigation apps, finding local services and focus ad banners to content relative to your location. It also allows wireless providers and OS manufacturers to provide location services to allow customers to locate their phones if lost.

A recent Court ruling may have opened the door for law enforcement to use the same location services to track you without a warrant (at least in the Sixth Circuit). The case in question involves a drug dealer, Melvin Skinner, who was tracked by Federal Agents using his cell phone location services. Agents received Court authorization to obtain information on the cell phones used by Skinner that was in turn used to track his location. The tracking information obtained by law enforcement not only connected Skinner to the crimes but would also lead agents to his location for arrest.

More →
1
loading...
0
loading...
26
loading...
0
loading...

For a long time, Windows Phone users have speculated about the possibility of a Tablet based on the OS. It never happened, but even now, I’m left wondering if Windows Phone is the more capable and desirable portable computing experience.

Microsoft are on the cusp of releasing Windows 8 and with it we see the software giant plunging head first into the world of true mobile computing. They have dug in deep and hammered away at the core of Windows to enable new, mobile orientated computing experiences. At the same time we also have Windows Phone 8 getting ready for primetime. Windows Phone is now reaching its first major upgrade, and it's about to fully mature.

Given the right form factor it's an OS that could work better as a tablet than Windows 8, and here is why...

More →
2
loading...
8
loading...
50
loading...
0
loading...

Windows Live Essentials has been part of most Windows Users standard installation for many years now. This familiar and ‘essentials’ set of applications does much to make Windows come to life as a useful productivity tool. Providing photo editing, movie making, blogging, email, synchronising and instant messaging apps, ‘Essentials’ forms a solid backbone for basic computing throughput when using Microsoft operating systems.

Whereas a certain other well-known fruit themed OSX has the luxury of these types of applications being built in, Microsoft decided after Vista to detangle these common apps from their OS. In part to make future updates easier to deliver and in part due to avoid any undue and potentially messy encounters with anti-trust bodies. So what’s the skinny on Essentials 2012? 

More →
1
loading...
8
loading...
30
loading...
0
loading...

At the start of the year I took up driving with gusto, you see, being a Londoner I have really had little need of a car. For one reason or another, it had started to become a nuisance not driving so I decided to change my wicked, public transport loving ways and get a license to burn fossil fuels. I took an intensive course and recently passed. During the process of getting my license I bought a Lumia 800, of course, it is a wonderful device but wanted it for those free and extensive driving maps. So how does Nokias’s mapping software get on? I have been testing it for a few weeks now, read on to see how well it works.

More →
4
loading...
5
loading...
27
loading...
0
loading...

Yesterday saw the start of a new developer group, this time not based in London but on the south coast in Bournemouth. Scott Lovegrove of Ferret Labs and Dan Thomas of Moov2 conceived the meet up. The core idea in creating the group is simple, to bring developers interested in both Windows Phone and Windows development together. With the looming releases of both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 now seemed like the time.  We signed up to attend the event and were invited to present a short talk. With everything from games development to a platform overview of Windows Phone 8 from a Microsoft evangelist, it proved a very worthwhile trip.

The event was generously hosted by local digital agency redweb. As well as the excellent space, they were able to provide a great meeting room and a fridge stocked with refreshments for the ever-thirsty developers. We arrived after a very early start to make it for 10am to find that the place was already buzzing with devs. We took our places and the talks began, first it started off with a show and tell section.

More →
1
loading...
0
loading...
21
loading...
0
loading...

A few days ago, we visited London’s newest shopping mecca, Westfield to get a quick take on how much coverage Windows Phone is getting in the retail space. Much has been made about Windows Phone not having good retail exposure. We wanted to see if this was true and get a feel for how things look for Windows Phone in the UK's largest shopping centre.

Almost as soon as we entered the main concourse, we were surprised to find a full-blown ZTE promotional stand. Currently ZTE produce one Windows Phone, the Tango spec Tania, a device that’s somewhat hampered by having only 4GB memory it does make up for it with a generous 4.3" screen size. The stand was there primarily to promote a new Android phone but the Tania was along for the ride and being displayed right up alongside it.

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
24
loading...
0
loading...

Although we cheered at Nokia dropping the price of the AT&T Lumia 900 a few days ago, many detractors in the tech media looked for a negative angle to the story, resulting in some damning headlines this past week.

What was the other tale they were spinning? That the Lumia 900 must not be doing well—after all, why would Nokia (and AT&T) cut the price “so soon” after launch? Forgetting the fact that “so soon” is exactly 3 months or we’ve seen price drops after launches before. That didn’t stop various media outlets like this example which boasts

“Finnish phone maker Nokia has been forced to cut the price of its Lumia 900 by half, just weeks after launching it”.

Forced? Just weeks? That story went over the ANI wire to a lot of news outlets. One problem though: they were wrong.

Read more after the break..

More →
3
loading...
0
loading...
114
loading...
0
loading...

It's estimated that with each Lumia 900 sold in the US for $49, $450 is used to market the Windows Phone for the consumer to actually make the purchase. So we're looking at a fairly expensive US launch should reports be accurate. Is it really all doom and gloom for the platform and Nokia?

Blogger Horace Dediu suggests the push in the States has had negligible impact on the market so far, which we'd agree with. It has been pretty poor. The Lumia 900 received "hero status" from AT&T and is the largest marketing effort by the carrier to-date. But according to recent marketshare numbers, the Windows Phone platform is still struggling in the up-hill battle. We can't just look at the Lumia 900, we have to really look at the perception of Windows Phone as a platform.

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
35
loading...
0
loading...

Microsoft Research has published a few more details on their skunkworks project that commenced in 2008 to bring the Windows NT core to ARM. Better still this goes on to show that not only were they successful, but also they were able to beat Windows CE in performance tests on the same hardware.

Windows CE, on which Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7 run, has been the mainstay of Microsoft’s mobile efforts for a very long time. The problem of course is that it’s never really been Windows at all and for the most part it an entirely separate beast. Windows NT, the core of Microsoft’s standard Windows products, was long considered too large and resource heavy to work well on mobile devices. Experiment 19 was a project to prove that not only could NT come to mobile, it could do so and beat Windows CE in the process. It was a success.

More →
2
loading...
0
loading...
61
loading...
0
loading...

Could Microsoft make a Surface Phone? Not likely

We've re-published a number of concepts in the past when it came to guessing what designs Nokia had up their sleeves for Windows Phone, or how Windows 8 tablets could look like. Fortunately for consumers, Microsoft decided to smash the latter and unveil their Surface range of Windows 8 tablets to compete with the iPad and Android counterparts. So we now switch back to the phone, and with Apollo on the horizon what could we see if Microsoft and RIM made a Windows Phone?

More →
9
loading...
0
loading...
43
loading...
0
loading...

Microsoft yesterday announced commercial availability of their Microsoft Translator Hub. The service has been designed to allow developers and business to deliver tailored, real-time translation in up to 39 languages.  The real-time translation is available as an Azure Marketplace application, enabling users to leverage the Microsoft Cloud to deliver more relevant machine translation applications to their customers.

The applications vary for this service but as an example, it will allow for fluid, real time translation of live web chat interactions from customer services representatives. It goes beyond plain machine translation by allowing the output to be fully optimised for that particular application. A private set of data can be uploaded and using the Translator’s machine learning training system, output can then be tailored as required. Manipulating the output could allow exclusion of business specific nomenclature such as names of products or abbreviations. These customised translation scenarios can then be tested deployed so that they suit each application for which they are targeted. Once the solution is deployed, it can accessed through the familiar Microsoft Translator Service API, all the time being kept private or shared, depending on what you require.

More →
1
loading...
0
loading...
43
loading...
0
loading...
91

Windows Phone confusing to RIM's CEO

The Windows Phone platform is confusing. At least to Research In Motion's CEO that is.

In a recent interview CNET, Thorsten Heins said that Microsoft is overwhelming consumers with Windows Phone 7, 7.5 and now 8. He said,

"It's confusing at the moment, but that's the way they communicate."

It's understandable that Heins will speak highly of RIM and down play the competition but RIM doesn't exactly have a crystal clear approach on things. The obvious way to illustrate this is to ask where is Blackberry 10?  But there's more.

Beyond the delay of Blackberry 10's release, RIM has had to deal with lay-offs, resignations and quarterly loses. All the while Microsoft is posting gains, expanding through acquisitions and partnerships, and introducing new products (Surface anyone?). Sure, Microsoft has mulitple versions of Windows Phone in circulation but so does RIM with Blackberry 6 and 7. While Windows Phone may have confused RIM, I'll take stability and growth with a little confusion any day.

And it may not be fair to compare these two companies with Microsoft's more diversified portfolio of products. Still... is the Windows Phone platform any more confusing than RIM's?  Then you have to wonder if Heins should be calling out Microsoft's platform when RIM seems to be on the down hill slide?

Source: CNET via: ZDNET

More →
1
loading...
0
loading...
27
loading...
0
loading...

Pages