Windows Phone News

6

O2 ROM update for the HD2

U.K. wireless provider O2 has released a ROM update for the HTC HD2. There is no change log available with the ROM likely fixing minor bugs and tweaking things under the hood to improve stability.

If you happen to be using an HD2 from O2 you can find the updated ROM here. Remember, when you flash the ROM you wipe all your data so it's important to back-up everything before updating.

[via: wmpoweruser.com]

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U.S. Cellular has announced a new business-class Windows Phone, the Samsung Exec.

With all the buzz circulating about the Kin and Windows Phone 7 pending releases, it's a little surprising to see an announcement on a new Windows Phone especially when it's running Windows Mobile 6.5 Standard.  However, the Exec is being presented as a business solution design and WM Standard is a good fit for such a design.  Asides from the center control panel design, the Exec is very reminiscent of the Samsung Jack.

The Samsung Exec specs include 123mb ROM/80mb RAM, 1500mah battery, a 2mp camera, 667mhz processor, 2.4" 320x240 screen, bluetooth, and gps. The Samsung Windows Phone measures 4.61"Lx2.36"Wx.45"D and weighs 3.7 ounces.

The Exec will run you $169.95 before rebates and discounts which will drop the price to $99.95.

[Read: Slashphone.com]

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All you business-types who have been fretting over whether you're going to be able to crank out e-mails on the fly in Windows Phone 7 ... wonder no more. After the break are a couple of new emulator videos of Windows Phone 7, finally showing what the e-mail and Office experience may be like. Opening a PowerPoint presentation within an e-mail? Very cool. We're not sold on the on-screen keyboard just yet, but there's plenty of time for that, and we'll undoubtedly see a slider or two. [MobilityDigest Youtube via Engadget]

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5

Zune HD gets Doom, becomes a man

Since there is quite the backlash from so-called "power users" against Windows Phone 7 (it is quite the a change), learning to hack and break down the new walled garden of Microsoft will be the new rage we predict.  

And while the Zune HD and Windows Phone 7 only share some similar code/structure, learning to port games,load hacks and implement tricks on one may help with the other.

Just days afters basically jail braking the Zune HD, it has past a rite of passage: playing Doom.

Sure, it's nothing amazing and it's sort of the least you expect after this long a time, but hey, at least we now know the question: But can it play Doom? Here's to doing the same on WP7.

[ZuneBoards via Engadget]

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Microsoft released their third quarter numbers today and things are looking good over at Redmond. Third Quarter Revenue was reported at $14.50 billion (a 6% boost compared to last year) which is another earnings record for the company. While Windows 7 may get a lot of the credit for the boost in revenue, Bing is getting a little credit as well.

Peter Klein, Chief Financial Officer for Microsoft, stated "Windows 7 continues to be a growth engine but we also saw strong growth in other areas like Bing Search, Xbox Live and our emerging cloud services."

Windows revenue was up 28% compared to the same quarter last year and with more than 10% of the computers in the world running Windows 7, it becomes the fastest selling OS in history.

While I don't think Microsoft's overall success hinges on the Windows Phone market, it will be interesting to see how the release of the Kin next month and the Windows Phone 7 later this Fall will influence the financial statements. You can find all the numbers on the Third Quarter Report here.

[via: Microsoft]

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5

XDA launches XDA ROMS

Need a one stop shop for custom ROMs? Want to see what a particular chef has cooked up?  XDA ROMs is hoping to fit those needs.

XDA ROMS is a clearing house of sorts for cooked ROMS that has been created by bowpay, an XDA Developer's Forum member.  The cooking is categorized based on the device, chef, language and OS. XDA ROMS also has the ability to compare up to five ROMS side by side and you can also rate the ROMS. 

The site is still in a Beta stage so it may take some time to iron out all the bugs and get the ROM database fully stocked.

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Whoa. We've all been wondering if and when Dell would ever legitimately get back into the smartphone game -- and we've been wondering if we'd ever see a portrait QWERTY phone ever again. Looks like both questions might have been answered in this leak Engadget scored. The Dell Lightning has a 4.1-inch OLED display as a vertical slider, powered by the (now) usual 1GHz Qualcomm QSD 8250 Snapdragon processor. There's also a 5MP camera, 1GB of ROM/512MB of RAM with another 8GB of onboard storage, GPS, accelerometer, compass, FM radio, full Flash video playback, and it'll be GSM, to boot. Oh, and if that's not enough, it might well be upgradable to LTE sometime in 2011. Welcome back, Dell. [Engadget]

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We haven't mentioned much about the Sony Xperia X2a. The predecessor to the Xperia X1 has been making the rounds overseas and it appears to be headed to the U.S. Market.

Over at SonyStyle.com, Sony is accepting pre-orders for the X2a (only $599.99) and is noting expected availability as on or about April 29, 2010.

The X2a is a sliding keyboard styled Windows Phone running Windows Mobile 6.5. It features Sony's "tile" user interface and an 8.1mp camera. Other features include a 3.2", 800x480 screen, Qualcomm 528mhz processor, 1500mah battery, 256mb RAM, 512mb ROM, and is shipped with a 4GB MicroSD card.

From the advertisement's footnotes: "This device is 3G enabled for tri-band HSPA (850/1900/2100 MHz). Please check with your preferred carrier as some features, applications, and services are not available in all areas. GSM network with compatible radio band required. Not available in all countries. Local SIM card required to make local calls, sold separately. Check with a service provider for details."

 

So if you're on AT&T (or another compatible network) and are dying to get your hands on a Sony Windows Phone, now's your chance.

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4

AT&T launches Buzz.com

AT&T has launched a social network/search engine website called Buzz. Not to be mistaken with Google Buzz, AT&T Buzz seems to be a cross between social network and a search engine. It is as if you added a yellow page search engine to Facebook.

Speaking of Facebook, AT&T Buzz is integrated with Facebook in that you can access it through your Facebook Account and Buzz posts can be mirrored to Facebook. If you don't have a Facebook Account, you can sign up for a stand alone Buzz Account.

Features of Buzz include:

  • A location based search engine (type in what you're looking for and the city).  Searches can be done base on a business name or service/product.
  • A comments section for businesses plus the ability to make a business your favorite.  This feature is described as a social bookmark for your part of the world, and
  • An "Ask and Answer" feature where you can ask for recommendations on Buzz to get suggestions from your friends (e.g. where's a good plumber?).

Buzz can be accessed via your desktop/laptop computer at www.buzz.com as well as your Windows Phone by pointing your mobile browser to m.buzz.com. AT&T is also looking into developing a standalone Buzz application (similar to Bing Mobile, Facebook Mobile, etc.) for certain mobile OS's.

After spending a short period exploring the Buzz.com website, it looks like an interesting way to find local businesses and get local feedback on who's the best and who to avoid.  Keep in mind that Buzz is still in the Beta stages so glitches and bugs may still be present.

[via: AT&T]

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5

HTC HD Mini passes the FCC

The HTC HD Mini has passed the FCC with support for North American 3G Bands. The mystery now becomes where and when will the Mini land.

T-Mobile has been enjoying success with the HTC HD2 and while the HD Mini would be an interesting companion piece, it may also be an unlikely companion piece. AT&T is another strong possibility with the HD Mini replacing the AT&T Pure, which hasn't performed as well as expected. The long shot may be seeing the HTC Mini being sold unlocked and unbranded.

With the Kin being released next month and the Windows Phone 7 on the horizon, it will be interesting to see where the HD Mini lands and if it can hold it's own amidst all the new Windows Phone offerings. [via Engadget]

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Well, the always expensive Sprint Touch Pro 2 (originally $350 w/contract; see full review) has been reduced to a somewhat more fair $199 ($150 instant discount, $100 MIR).

Makes sense. The phone is running WM6.5  (albeit a very good build with Sense 2.5) and is hitting its 6 month stride.

Still, with the T-Mobile HD2 running for $99 (see here and here) with comparable pricing plans, that $199 still seems a bit steep. But hey, if you've been holding out for the TP2 and don't mind having a non-Windows Phone 7 device in six months (we hear there are a few of you), then go for it! [Phone News]

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In a leaked document, evidently found by Tweakers.net, some more information has emerged on the internal design, some limitations and drivers in Windows Phone 7.

Most the information seems to work in favor of a stable, consistent and consumer friendly mobile OS, but one cannot deny the big role Microsoft is now playing in overseeing their new OS (though it's still much less than Apple's grip on the iPhone and iPad, but is that really saying much?).

Some things worth noting are the following:

  • Windows LiveID will be used to sync data services and enter the Marketplace, much like the current setup, so no real changes there
  • Carrier and OS upgrades will be handled, approved and distributed only by Microsoft via Over-the-Air (OTA) and/or Zune sync (desktop)
  • No changes to the home screen are allowed by OEMs or carriers (not news) but either can customize certain tiles, ring tones and wallpapers
  • Carriers can include their own software but with very strict requirements including being limited to six applications (at a total 60MB storage), no trial-ware (hurray!) and all apps must be approved by Microsoft
  • There is support for external storage cards, though it remains to be seen if they will be initially allowed on devices
  • Microsoft will supply the 2D graphics and DirectX 10-based Direct3D 11 runtimes (good); OEMs will develop and distribute the drivers for both the 2D and 3D graphics (bad?)
  • Support for Bluetooth 2.1 but not 3.0 (yet)
  • 480x320 support, though not fully endorsed? May be good for front-qwerty...

Other details related to the memory architecture, which is more or less interesting for programmers and the tech savy.  In short, it's a 32-bit OS with a dual layer architecture. The kernel and application processes are allowed 2GB of memory each and programs are allowed 1GB of virtual memory (up from a measly 32MB in WM6.x). The file systems are based IMGFS for system files, and TexFAT for user files, with the later being "...best suited for non-removable media, such as NAND and NOR flash memory".

Overall the news is a bit mixed, though we're a bit happy Microsoft is putting the handcuffs on carriers, especially regarding the addition of their own software/services and blocking the addition of trial-ware. Likewise for ROM updates, which will now be centralized. However, we're a bit worried about the 2D/3D driver situation as that has been a problem in the past.

What say you? Read the original article here (Google Translated).

[via SlashGear]

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One of the larger concerns we've heard regarding Windows Phone 7 is its relatively closed nature, sending shivers -- or sounding a battle cry -- through the likes of XDA Developers and other hacking sites. And it looks like the call to arms has been answered, as the Zune firmware has been cracked open, paving the way for sideloading apps outside of the Zune Marketplace. As the heroes put it, "the limitations of XNA are now no limitations at all."

Here's to hoping we see some killer apps in the near future, and later on Windows Phone 7. [Zuneboards via Engadget]

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11

KIN: 'Full Bleed, No Chrome'

So a lot has come out in the last 72 hours about Microsoft's KIN project. Some of us get it, a lot of us don't, most of us still have many questions.

One interesting article, written by Microsoft itself, addresses the design process behind KIN. Although we can see inspiration coming from the same roots as Windows Phone 7, that is Zune (which in turn was inspired by Windows Media Device Center), a lot of KIN comes from a different source: magazines.

Read more after the break ...

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Not to sound too repetitive, an update is available for Microsoft's Bing app for those using a Windows Phone on the Sprint, AT&T or T-Mobile network.  The new version is  5.1.2010 and you can get it by choosing the "Update Available" menu option in the old version or by pointing your mobile browser to m.bing.com/download (yeah... I know it's different than the twitter post but it's what worked for me).

No specifics on what the update covers but just off hand, it looks like a maintenance update.  If we discover anything different we'll pass it on. [via: Twitter.com]

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Verizon has released a software update for the Samsung Omnia (SCH-I910) that addresses some performance issues the Windows Phone has been experiencing. They include a Qualcomm patch to improve call quality; updates/fixes to the Opera browser; updating the XT9 keyboard; a correction in the algorithm codec used in attaching full resolution images to MMS messages; and a few other assorted tweaks and fixes.

You can download the software update at Samsung's support website.

[read: pocketnow.com]

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6

Windows Phone 7 future features

During last month's Microsoft's DevDays in The Hague, Charlie Kindel, a Windows Phone 7 Development Team member, sat down with Tweakers.net and discussed, in part, future features for Windows Phone 7 and Microsoft expects to deliver them.

Kindel stated that the initial release of Windows Phone 7 will not be feature complete, leaving the door open to additional features that will be added once they are properly functional.  Kindel stated that, "This is a change from earlier Windows Mobile versions, where we strove for as much possible functionality. Now, some things are missing at launch but the important thing for us is user experience. Everything must work equally well for the unit to work properly. Then we will look at how we can extend that functionality."

We can expect future features from Microsoft as they build upon the initial release (which, according to Kindel, is still on track for this Fall).  The one "future feature" mentioned in the interview was the ability to extend (or add) the hubs within Windows Phone 7.

Another highlight from the interview was that Microsoft s intending to release updates and "future features" for Windows Phone 7 directly. Kindel stated, "We want everyone on the same version of the OS." He continued, "Updates will be available through the Zune desktop or over the air." Larger updates would be handled through the Zune software while minor updates would be handled OTA. With Microsoft having more direct control over the update process, it will be interesting to see if updates and fixes are more timely.

[via: wmpoweruser.com]

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T-Mobile appears to be at it again. Last month they released the HTC HD2 and now it looks like they are poised to possibly release the HTC Tera. The Windows Phone just passed through the FCC and if the speculation is correct it will be headed to a T-Mobile network near you.

The similarities are close enough between the Tera PB65100 and the Touch Pro 2 that many are dubbing it the Touch Pro 3. There is some thought that maybe the Tera will be eligible for upgrade to Windows Phone 7 but the design (has more than three buttons) and the specs (see below) will have to undergo a major overhaul.

The Tera has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, runs Windows Mobile 6.5, has a 3-inch WQVGA resistive touch screen, 512mb ROM, 256mb RAM, 3.5mm headphone jack and a Qualcomm 600mhz processor.

There's no word when the Tera might become available but we'll keep a watch for it. [via cellphonesignal.com]

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