Rumors

Just yesterday we were wondering when Adobe Flash would be launching with Windows Phone 7, especially with Adobe suddenly listing the fledgling OS on their site.

Today, we get word from  Michael Chaize, a Flash Platform evangelist based in Paris, that Flash and AIR (allows Flash to run in non-browser situations), will be released on WP7 "within months" of release, possibly as little as six-months post-release.

We think this would make sense for Microsoft as they would probably package it an maintenance release for the OS, pushed out to everyone with hopefully other things like copy-paste and socket support.

Of course this is Adobe, so "within months" from them is almost equivalent to 'Valve-time'.

[via Tim Anderson's ITWriting]

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Samsung to announce the Omnia Pro 4

Samsung is rumored to be announcing a new Windows Phone, the Omnia Pro 4, tomorrow at CommunicAsia 2010. CommunicAsia is an international communications and information technology conference held in Singapore.

All we know from the rumors is the name and that the Omnia Pro 4 is expected to be announced with two new Bada phones, Samsung's OS, the Wave 2 and Wave 2 Pro. There were no hint at the Omnia Pro 4's specs or what happened to the Omnia Pro 2 or 3.

While the Samsung Omnia made its way to the U.S. Market, the Omnia Pro (pictured above) found a place in overseas markets. Odds aren't great that we'll see the Omnia Pro 4 but with so little known about this new phone, anything is possible. As we find out more on the Omnia Pro 4, we'll pass it on.

[read: Samsung Hub]

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Windows Phone 7 Rumor: Sony Ericsson Julie

Add Sony Ericsson to the growing list of potential Windows Phone 7 device rumors. There are plenty of rumors surrounding HTC devices and now Sony is rumored to have the Julie.

The Julie is reported to have a 4" screen and sliding QWERTY keyboard along with the standard WP7 goodies (1 gigahertz processor, multi-touch capability, etc).

Sony was mentioned amongst the many hardware launch partner when Windows Mobile 7 was announced during the 2010 Mobile World Congress.  So the rumors aren't that far of a reach except Sony hasn't been a major player on the Windows Phone front.  Maybe things are about to change.

Still, it would be interesting to see a Sony WP7 phone with Xbox integration. I wonder how the Play Station crowd will react.

[via: wmpoweruser.com]

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HTC HD2 model rumored with keyboard

The HTC HD2 may soon be available with a side-sliding keyboard. Or so says Xmoo, a ROM collector, who has found evidence for such a HD2 version.

Just as with Conflipper finding evidence of potentially new HTC Windows Phones, Xmoo has found evidence in the registry keys of a new HD2 ROM that support a slide-out QWERTY device.

This is purely in the speculation/rumor stages. However, adding a keyboard to the HD2 is an interesting concept. If this develops into reality, you can only hope HTC finds a way to keep the increase in thickness the keyboard will bring to a minimum.

[read: wmpoweruser.com]

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T-Mobile is rumored to have one heck of a Father's Day sale where all the phones are free? We're not just talking about last year's models but every phone in the house for free? That would include Windows Phones such as the HTC HD2, Touch Pro 2, and the Dash.

I'm not sure if I'd make plans to camp out at the local T-Mobile Store on June 19th just yet, but Tmonews has stumbled upon scripts for an upcoming T-Mobile commercial. In the dialog the fictional T-Mobile employee indicates every phone is free. There is even reference to the HD2 being free.  To quote the fictional employee, "free, free, free".

There are no details available yet on who could be entitled to a free phone. More than likely these deals will be for new or possibly upgrading customers and should require a two-year contract. Still, if true, T-Mobile could be seeing an increase in their customer base come Father's Day.

[read: tmonews.com]

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Back a few months ago, someone on a Chinese site (QQ.com) published the supposed specs for the HTC HD3.

We didn't really cover it, because

  • Sure, it's HTC anything is possible
  • There's no real proof

Flash forward six-months later and the situation is still the same, but the technology landscape has changed a bit. For instance, 1.5GHz processors are now real and ready to roll, so that's possible. WiMax is out now (HTC EVO) and even 8MP cameras are legit. But yeah, we also know that 1280x800 is not a supported Windows Phone 7 resolution and a 4.5" screen was always suspect (plus just getting ridiculous; then again, hello Dell Mini 5 'Streak'!).

But still, suppose HTC does make a HD3--not really a stretch of the imagination, is it? Lets take a guess: it'll be a big black slab, three capacitive buttons on the front,  8MP back camera, 1.3MP front, WiMax (or LTE) and a 1.5GHz Snapdragon. The screen will be 4.3", give or take. Slap and HTC logo on there, sell it off to Sprint and AT&T and we're good to go. Are we close?

So the phone featured in this fake video-promo for the supposed HD3?  Probably still fake, but also likely pretty close to whatever the actual HD3 will be, since this isn't rocket science. Go ahead watch, get your drool bucket and put that Sprint EVO order on hold for a few months.

Check the "video" (really just still shots and HTC logo) after the break...

[edit: And of course some of this was published over at WMPU awhile back]

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File this under 'rumor' but technically very plausible.

We know Windows Phone 7 will be locked for advanced OS options and privileges and that developers will have access to these.  And like the iPhone and Android platforms, presumably after the device is "rooted" or "jailbroken", the modding community can have a real go at the OS.

What we don't know is exactly how much of the 'Metro' UI can be changed or modified, but for a lot of folks, they're hoping that most if not all of it can be replaced.

Justin Angel, a former Microsoft Silverlight Program Manager involved heavily with software development in Windows Phone 7, said recently in a tweet:

OEMs (phone vendors) can replace Metro completely, but they won't. It'll be easy to jailbreak WP7 into another theme though.

OEM get to ship 2 themes (OEMLight and ORMDark). A Theme _can_ customize anything, including control templates.

OEMs will have an advanced tool set not available to the public (how long before those leak) which gives them access, to among other things, the phone-radio and evidently the UI (though one wonders what WP7 would "look like" without 'Metro'?). The good news is something we expect to here more of: once the device is jailbroken (which won't take long), people will be able to modify the UI to their liking.

How deep we can go is all the remains. Hopefully it's more than just changing color "accents".

[via @JustinAngel 1, 2]

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Five Windows Phone 7 devices from HTC are rumored to have found homes with various wireless carriers.

Conflipper is reporting that the HTC Gold_W is headed to Sprint (the "_W" refers to "World phone" i.e. CDMA & GSM, like the Touch Pro 2), the HTC Schubert and Mondrian are headed to Telus (Mondrian going to Rogers as well), and the HTC Spark_W is being picked up by Bell Mobility and Verizon. Finally, another device, HTC Scorpio aka HTC Olympian is also going to Verizon/Bell Mobility.

The speculation on the carriers is likely based on carrier codes much like our earlier report that the Moderian was headed to AT&T.  While we are familiar with the Mondrian, the other phones are a bit of a mystery.  As we pick up more on these phones, we'll pass it on.

 

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This week has been a somewhat exciting one if you've been following the annual Computex show in Taipei.

For one, Asus demonstrated their Eee pad, which sadly won't be out till first quarter 2011. The 12-inch EP121 features Intel's Core 2 Duo CULV processors, Windows Embedded Compact 7 for the UI (and Windows 7 too?), and a supposed 10-hour battery life. The battery here is the killer part if true as that's where the competition, along with 'instant on', is really gaining momentum.  The device is also powered by Nvidia's Tegra video processor, which leads us to...

Despite being featured on an unfinished Windows tablet, Nvidia President and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang had no problem distancing himself from such devices and backing Android, stating

Windows is too big and it's too full featured for smartbooks and tablets

The good news is that we finally have an operating system to unite behind. Android is an operating system that has gained a tremendous amount of momentum all over the world 

Zing. While most of us would agree with such an assessment, it's a bit rough when it comes from one of your featured partners. The issue here is Microsoft's intention to use Windows 7 and only Windows 7 on tablet devices, eschewing a Windows Phone 7 type device which many seem to want. In addition, Google's Chrome OS is finally launching in the fall, which should increase the competition even more with HP/Palm's WEbOS tablet.

So everyone is doing a mobile OS for tablets except Microsoft. This should end well.

Finally, Paul Thurrott recently explained why he thinks the iPad is a consumption-but-not-contribution device, something we've been saying for awhile on our podcasts. This reason is similar to what Microsoft told Engadget on why they want to use a full-fledged OS instead of a mobile one for tablets. While that argument holds true for installing desktop software, it doesn't seem really address how consumers are actually using these devices these days.

We say let the market decide. Microsoft, put out different tablets, one featuring Windows 7 and another featuring Windows Phone 7. No one will confuse them. Seriously, we think you're betting on the wrong horse here and Android, iPad, Chrome and even HP/Palms's WebOS are going to put the hurt on you're tablets by Spring 2011.

[via PC WorldEngadget, WinSuperSite, Raw Story & PreCentral]

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First off, this isn't some "official Microsoft support thing", so don't even go there. 

But evidently one of the developers (Nick Randolph) presenting at ReMix Australia used a Nintendo Wii remote in some fashion with the Windows Phone 7 emulator.

The Wii remote uses Bluetooth to connect to devices and it's been shown to be very hackable, running on everything from a PC to the new iPad. So any trickery to get it to work on WP7 is easily in the realm of plausibility.

What is exactly being used for? We have no idea. Could be just for simulation, could be something more interesting.  Either way, sounds like these developers are liking what they see. I mean, just look at how shocked Stan is in that second Tweet.

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While we knew some of the details about the LG Panther (GW910), we didn't have all the little nitty-gritty bits.

Granted, this is not the sexiest phone we've ever seen, but functional? Heck yeah, it seems like it'll do quite well with our new OS. The other thing is this is not final and LG might be apt to change or modify things before launch. Of note is the 720p video recording, something which is becoming more and more the norm these days.

But currently, it's not so bad, though we're hoping to see what HTC can bring to the table. Come on guys, leak something already...

 [via TechArena]

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Competition is hot these days in the music-download biz and Microsoft's $14.99 a month Zune Pass may instead get chopped down to $9.99, according to senior product manager Terry Farrell in an interview with Business Week.

While Phil and I think the $14.99 a month price is fair (you get to purchase 10 songs a month with that $14.99, in addition to unlimited downloading), others in the industry, notably Amazon and Rhapsody, offer a similar service for $10.

Microsoft does need to position itself here carefully: they want to make a profit and find that sweet spot, but they also want to make sure when you buy an upcoming Windows Phone 7 device, you take advantage of the Zune Marketplace.

Finding just the right combo could be killer, because while Amazon has some presence on mobile (notably Android), Rhapsody is less straight-forward and has less presence. (Plus in comparison, Zune Marketplace is a better experience than Amazon's on Android). This is still the one area that Microsoft can really exploit against Apple, who still don't have a monthly pass subscription.

And while they're at it, we'd like to see Microsoft implement some type of Zune Video Pass, which was rumored to be coming. The idea of having unlimited video streaming/downloading on my Windows Phone 7 would be fantastic.

[via Business Week & Zune Boards]

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We keep hearing various time-frames for the release of Windows Phone 7. Usually "holiday season" is tossed around, which here in the States stretches from mid-October (if you count Halloween) through January 2nd.

Some of us have been hearing October as the big month, but we're not even sure if that's just announcing products or actual release date. For instance, we can see Microsoft back here in NYC at their "Open House" event kicking off WP7 with a bunch of OEMs and developers, but not releasing till...well later.

Ballmer today is India, once again doing what he does best, giving speeches and pep talks, much like an impromptu Chris Farley. In response to a question about WP7, Ballmer reportedly had this to say:

We have to deliver devices with our partners this Christmas...We have got our work cut out on Windows Phone 7, but we are good competitors.

We suppose this isn't really news if they do "deliver" by Christmas, after all that is still the Holiday season.  But we can't help but wish it was more October-ish? And to throw in a zinger, he also reportedly said this

One of our competitors seems a little confused, has come out with two operating systems that I cannot tell the difference between.

Ahem, not sure if he should be throwing stones on such a day as this one, but okay.

[via @nimishdubey@cellpassion]

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is in Singapore today to help promote the launch of Office 2010/Imagine Cup Awards Ceremony, nothing too surprising there.

Evidently Steve took some questions from the audience and on Windows Phone 7, he reportedly had this to say:

We're focused on putting Windows Phone 7 in phones, no plans for tablets.

With the cancellation of Courier, the uncertain future of HP's Slate and the likes of Bach and Allard leaving, what exactly is Microsoft's strategy for tablet computers going to be? We know WP7 can scale up to large resolutions and evidently has a robust enough DPI to handle a high-resolution tablet.

So was he just being cagey or legit? It's not like he would just announce a Windows Phone 7-Tablet initiative in such an offhand way. Then again, MS has made some boneheaded moves in the past, and not taking advantage of WP7 + tablets could be one of them.

Speaking of shakeups, regarding the latest to the E&D division, he also reportedly said (paraphrasing)

There will not be further changes in mobile and entertainment strategy after management shakeup

That's a relief. The whole web seems to be crackling with 'WP7 FAIL' predictions after yesterday's news.

Update: In a video interview with Fortune, Ballmer clearly states they are going with Windows 7 and not Windows Phone 7 for tablets. Can Windows 7 answer the craving for instant-on, low power, low heat and fast mobile OS that consumers demand?

[image via @hyperous]

 

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Shakeup at Microsoft?

The eminent Wall Street Journal is reporting late last night that Microsoft may be significantly altering its corporate structure around the division focused on videogames, mobile phones and other consumer devices (e.g. Zune, Ford Sync).

As we reported earlier, J Allard is sadly still expected to be leaving Microsoft. The WSJ is also backing up the story that his departure is a result of the Courier cancellation.

Likewise, Robbie Back, who oversees the Xbox Live and Mobile division, may also be part of the re-organization process, reportedly as a result of Microsoft's continued poor performance against Google and Apple. This is especially evident as we are on the eve of Apple surpassing Microsoft for the #2 spot on the S&P 500, which though not ultimately important, is certainly symbolic and revealing.

This may also just be routine with Microsoft preparing for the emergence of Windows Phone 7 and Project Natal in the fall. Either way, we hope it works out.

Update: Robbie Bach is retiring in the fall; J Allard is leaving; transition plan detailed

Update 2Leadership Profiles: Andy Lees & Don Mattrick. Andy Lees, who will lead the Windows Phone 7/KIN teams, will report directly to Ballmer starting July 1st

Update 3: Ballmer's letter to the employees about the changes (via ZDNet)

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Conflipper recently posted some info about two HTC devices slated for 2010:  Huashan and Hengshan, named after mountains in China.

Sinces these reference-names are Chinese and not very Western e.g. Mondrian, Rhodium, Whitestone, it's a pretty good indication that these are devices that we'll never see here in the U.S. or Europe for that matter. Well that and they're on Dopod's release schedule.

Going further, Engadget are calling these Windows Phone 7 devices which is incorrect (WMPoweruser was savvy enough not to make this mistake). The following reference is inside the files:

Microsoft Internet Explorer Mobile 6

5.2

In case you forgot, this is Internet Explorer Mobile 6 (5.2), the same one that debuted with WM6.1.4 and is in WM6.5. That browser is quite at odds with the Windows Phone 7 browser based on the IE7 and IE8 Trident rendering engines. Just going by screen resolution (480x800 and 320x480) tells you nothing meaningful to differentiate between the two OSes.

So here's the deal: HTC and other lower-tier manufacturers will continue to churn out WM6.5 "Classic" devices in certain markets, namely Eastern as a low-cost alternative to the high-end Windows Phone 7 experience. Sure, both of these new HTC devices could be bumped to Windows Phone 7, but right now there is zero evidence that they are currently planning it. In fact the 320x480 device is probably just a HTC HD Mini spin off.

In other words HTC Huashan and HTC Hengshan: nothing to see here

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We've been hearing rumors about Dell working on a Windows Phone 7 device, the Lightning, for a while now. During a recent earnings conference call, Dell CEO Michael Dell kept hopes alive that Dell hasn't given up on the Lightning.

Dell stated, "We're very much working with Android and Windows Mobile 7 and we see those platforms as more attractive alternatives to other suggestions that you may have offered."  The alternative he is referring to is likely the option for Dell to buy or develop their own OS.

It's rumored that Dell's Android phone is likely headed to AT&T later this summer and if the renderings do the Lightning any justice, it would be a nice addition to the Windows Phone 7 lineup this Fall.

[read: wmpoweruser.com photo via: engadget.com]

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Has J Allard left Microsoft?

For those who don't know (shame!), J Allard is, or perhaps was Microsoft's Chief Experience and Chief Technology Officer for the Entertainment and Devices Division.

Primarily he was responsible for Zune and a lot of aspects of the Xbox platform, including Live, various add ons and the overall direction of the system. Most recently he was heavily associated with the wildly-popular "in incubation" product known as the Courier. If Microsoft has a 'Steve Jobs', i.e. someone who put as much effort on design as well as functionality, it would be Allard.

Of course you're aware that the Courier was recently killed off by Microsoft and some of us (well, me at least) thought perhaps it was undergoing a reshaping to make it more consumer-viable (as opposed to a professionally-orientated).

Well, it seems that Mr. Allard has gone MIA at Microsoft and the latest speculation was that he in on sabbatical but has no plans to return. Reportedly the reason: he was none to happy with the Ballmer's decision to nix the Courier, which evidently was past just being a "research project" and had real potential for being picked up for production. True? False? We may never know.

But if Allard has left Microsoft (for whatever reason), dare we say we're pretty crushed as his role and influence in Microsoft, at least from our perspective, seemed like a breath of fresh air. His indirect influence on Windows Phone should be evident from WP7. Lets hope cooler heads prevail and something positive comes from this situation.

[via ZDNet]

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A lot of hay has been made of Sprint and their new 4G network based off of WiMax, especially with the imminent launch of the HTC EVO.

But the fact remains, in terms of 4g technologies, WiMax may be the first but it's far from the default choice by many carriers in the U.S., let alone world-wide. Some feel this may be a dead-end for Sprint in the long run and if it's one thing Sprint doesn't need, it's another dud (cough, Palm Pre, cough).

Thankfully, Sprint was smart enough to leave options on the table.

To the point, Sprint has "...issued a "next generation network" request for proposal (RFP)" on their current fiber and they're looking at LTE:

"There's nothing that prevents us from... moving to LTE," said Kevin Packingham, senior VP of product and technology development at Sprint, speaking at the LTE event here. "We're doing a technology evaluation and making a decision on our core network and how we want to evolve that going forward."

And what about ol' WiMax? Looks like Sprint could have its cake and eat it too as they don't consider the two technologies "mutually exclusive". One could envision WiMax being deployed as a "hotspot" technology where LTE more ubiquitous. Of course, timing is everything and that could snag them a bit. But options are always good and at least Sprint didn't totally paint themselves into a corner. We hope.

[Light Reading via Electronista]

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One question has been bugging me ever since the Windows Phone 7 reveal back a few months ago and the revolves around screen resolution and quality.

We know that the preferred resolution is 800x480, which today is considered on the high end but within a few months will be closer to the norm in smartphones. This raises the question: what resolutions will WP7 support say in 12 months or 24 months out? Surely 800x480 won't be the bees-knees in two years from now. Heck, the 4th generation iPhone ("iPhone HD") is dropping this summer with an expected resolution of 960x640

We're pretty positive that Microsoft have some sort of upscaling plan in the works and the first hint of this may have just been found from one of the recent WP7 ROM dumps.

Specifically mention of a DPI 262 (DPI= dots per inch). Historically, Windows Mobile has supported DPI 192, 120 and 96. Windows Phone 7 supports 96, 131, 192, 262 and according to Da_G, WP7 resolution is scalable to just about anything.

Now DPI isn't resolution, but rather effects how dense the image is--the larger the screen, the less dense the pixels, you up those and your screen image is smoother looking. With DPI 262, Windows Phone 7 can (a) look better on current screens if enabled (b) work on larger screens e.g. 5" tablets and up. (c) be easier to read, think fonts/text and smoothness.

Hopefully this a positive sign of things to come.

[via XDA forums]

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