Rumors

The other day, Microsoft held and hour long video-chat on Windows Phone 7 and photography.

Not a whole 'lotta interesting info was gleaned, though it's still worth a watch for your diehards.

Video recording had a brief focus at the beginning where it was noted VGA recording is the minimum but OEMs can boost that up to HD and the device can handle it with no problem.

There seems to be some confusion over this last part at MobileTech World (who did a nice summary) where it was implied that it could record HD but not play it back. In fact, the question was convoluted: it assumed you had HD content from your DSLR camera and wanted to transfer it to your Phone--this is done through the Zune software. But if the phone has an HD camera, it can record and playback content with  no problem.

Other aspects covered were:

  • no touch focus (use hardware button); no face detection
  • no in-depth video editing e.g. red-eye correction; MS is relying on 3rd parties to fill that gap
  • Automatic syncing/resizing to Facebook, SkyDrive (25GB free space) and Live services
  • Full size for emailing
  • GPS tagging supported
  • no HDMI out in the chassis spec
  • 5MP in minimum; emphasis on quality sensors/hardware

You can watch the whole video here if you're really bored.

[Microsoft via MobileTech World]

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With the October (or late September) release of Windows Phone 7, we’ve heard very little about what hardware is going to be available before the holidays. We’ve heard from LG, that they will have multiple devices out by the end of the year. Now Samsung has a device jumping through the hoops to get certified.

The Samsung Cetus (SGH-i917) is listed by the Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group) as a Windows Phone 7 device with a 4” WVGA AMOLED screen, 5MP Camera, and a secondary (front facing) VGA camera. Though most of the specs given merely meet the minimums set forth by Microsoft and the given specs have some glaring holes (processor, memory?), it’s still nice to start seeing some real details about what Microsoft’s Partners have in store for us.

[Bluetooth SIG via Engadget]

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We've been hearing about the code-names for awhile and now we finally get to see one. We're of course talking about Windows Phone 7 on an HTC device and this one is reportedly for Verizon (and presumably Sprint).

Rocking some current-high end specs, the device features:

  • 3.7" SLCD screen (Sony's 'Super TFT LCD', nothing big)
  • 3 touch-sensitive lower buttons (similar to EVO)
  • 8MP camera (No dual flash, not even a single one!)
  • 1GHz Snapdragon
  • No HTC customizations in sight

Too early to tell if this will be a release device, what it'll be called and where it fits in with HTC's planned offerings (maybe this is an entry level device, not their flagship?)

Our take: it's exactly what we'd expect from HTC and in that regard, it's a bit underwhelming although we think it'll get the job done admirably. Still, we're sort of hoping for 'an HTC EVO moment' where we really go 'wow' instead of 'meh'.

Are our standards and expectations too high? Yup, and we're okay with that as Microsoft needs to wow us.  Your thoughts?  Is that Dell Lightning looking better yet?

Edit: Windows Phone 7 hardware specs require a flash for the camera.  Hmmm...

The other big story is that HTC does plan to offer 'Sense' or something similar to it. Quoting HTC

"Microsoft has taken firmer control of the core experience [in Windows Phone 7], but we can still innovate," Drew Bamford, who heads HTC's user experience design team, told Forbes.

"We won't be able to replace as much of the core Windows Phone experience, but we will augment it," he said

We're down with that. Now lets see what that actually means.

[Via Engadget and FierceWireless; Thanks, Stephen, for the tip!]

 

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He may be retiring, but not without a parting shot to HTC. Conflipper has gone ahead and posted some more HTC device codenames, some of which are presumably for Windows Phone 7.

Now, before we get all giddy over these, it should be noted that even CF is not 100% if these will see the light of day, rather all he knows is that they were at least one time planned--whether or not they get through development and production is always up in the air until they are announced.

Some other bits he posts:

Looking at WP7 device Mozart, being a dance, Salsa, Tango, and Swing, are all dances, HTC likes to name devices under same category.

Maestro looks to be Worldphone, (CDMA + GSM), Swing is a GSM, Swing#C CDMA, Salsa is GSM, Salsa#C is CDMA, Vienna and Vienna#C

How do these fit in with those previous WP7 device-codenames e.g. HTC Gold_W (Sprint)/Gold, HTC Mozart/Schubert, Mondrian and HTC Spark_W? Heck if we know. While we're excited HTC evidently has a whole slew of devices coming for WP7, for FSM's sake can we get at least one leaked image of what they'll look like already?

[via Twitter]

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Fun Twitter day for rumors and Windows Phone 7 news as it looks like two big fish have bought into the next generation Microsoft OS.

The first, well, is obvious. Microsoft evidently believes in their new mobile system so much, they are giving all 90,000 employees a free phone. Nothing like that to get your own employees on board, eh?

It's even better news for MS employees, as reportedly their boss will no longer pay for their phone's service plan if it is a non-Microsoft OS (e.g. Blackberry, iPhone, WebOS), at least according to 'Business Insider'. So one hand taketh, the other giveth.

The second is less confirmed, but comes from a trusted source of a trusted source--namely Michael Gartenberg, who is a heavy when it comes to the tech world and writing on it. According to his inside person, AT&T is poised to get "8 million WP7 devices".

What exactly that means is hard to say--long term trend? Single device or multiple? We're going with the obvious and betting that they will have two maybe three Windows Phone 7 launches within a short period and combined, they expect to order 8 million.

Regardless of the details, if true, that is still a heck of a huge number to order. Now, will they sell?

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We already know that Verizon and Microsoft have pulled the plug on the whole KIN series (see our review), the question then becomes what to do about existing supplies?

We're getting word, confirmed though two sources, that anything and everything KIN gets sent back to...wherever...starting tomorrow. What happens to them is anyone's guess.

That's right folks, we may be on the verge of a fabled E.T. game situation for the KIN-they will perhaps be dumped in a big landfill, where 20 years from now, rare NIB KINS will fetch for thousands of dollars on eBay.

The geek inside of us wants to run out and buy one to keep next to our big-head Han Solo action figure; the analyst in us sees Microsoft trying to erase this mistake from history and think that's OK.

[Thanks, Jason Cipriani, for the tip!]

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File this under "confusing": Are the HTC Schubert and HTC Mozart one and the same? We may be finding out soon as TmoNews is hearing from a trusted source that the HTC Mozart (a 800x480, keyboardless slab) is coming to T-Mobile USA in the fall.

The big question is are Schubert/Mozart just swappable code names--one being the general device ('Mozart'), the other the carrier specific version ('Schubert') or are they two separate devices?  Too early to tell and like most WP7 device leaks, no hard info to really get excited about.

Hopefully we'll see some real hardware, real specs and something tangible soon.

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In an updated slide presented by Steve Ballmer during WPC10 the other day, HP was notably absent from the "launch partner" list for Windows Phone 7.

Unless they were just forgotten, it's sort of a big deal since HP was initially listed months ago as being one of the big OEMs to release a WP7 device this fall. Of course with their acquisition of Palm and specifically their WebOS, it's probably not a huge surprise that they've cold feet--even if they don't consider smartphones 'hard' or their main focus. Then again, they are still listed as a Microsoft slate-partner, even though they've said they would do a WebOS slate, possibly this year. Going further, this seems to contradict earlier reports that HP was "committed" to Windows Phone 7--even though they never actually stated as much.

Of course, while we're always excited about Microsoft working with as many OEMs as possible for design innovation and just general competition reasons, HP has not exactly lit the world on fire with their WM6.5 push in 2009 and we can't say we're too sad not to see them not listed.

Heck, with Dell being on board, we'll take that swap any day.

[via MobileTechWorld]

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AT&T gifting Microcells?

AT&T wireless customers are getting complimentary Microcells? It sounded too good to be true but we were seeing reports over the weekend that AT&T was handing out the Microcells to a  few fortunate AT&T customers.  Apparently, letters were sent out thanking customers for their patronage and invited them to the local AT&T store for a FREE 3G Microcell. 

Speculation as to why AT&T was giving away free Microcells ranged from an attempt to retain customers with soon to expire contracts to attracting iPhone customers to stick around in light of the persistent rumors another carrier will get the iPhone.

Curious as to how one would go about getting on such a mailing list, we received an official statement from AT&T that reads,

"AT&T's 3G Microcell is designed for the very small percentage of our customers who have wireless voice coverage challenges inside their home. While the product is now available to customers nationwide, we are conducting trials in two markets on the most effective way to introduce this product to customers for whom it was designed."

Just as with the initial trials, it appears that these lucky customers are simply part of a marketing research group. No conspiracy to get contracts renewed or entice iPhone owners to stick around, just marketing research.  Regardless of the reasoning, the free Microcell does serve as a nice bonus (it works like a charm) for those who received the letter.

Update: Just got word from AT&T that the free Microcells are being sent out on a very limited basis.  According to the revised statement, "AT&T's 3G Microcell is designed for the very small percentage of our customers who have wireless voice coverage challenges inside their home. While the product is now available to customers nationwide, we are conducting very limited trials on the most effective way to introduce this product to customers for whom it was designed."  Not much new with the updated statement other than the odds of getting a free Microcell just greatly reduced.

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WP7 Rumors: HTC Schubert headed to T-Mobile

T-Mobile's roadmap to the end of the year has leaked and it includes the HTC Schubert, a Windows Phone 7 device.

The slide (blurry as it may be) shows sixteen devices coming to T-Mobile by year's end including a bunch of Android devices and on November 17th, the HTC Schubert. Very little is known about the Schubert beyond it being identified as a WP7 device and rumors that it's headed to Telus (and now T-Mobile).

So, we've got rumors that the HTC Gold is headed to the U.K. in November, the Schubert headed to T-Mobile in November and the odd man out is AT&T who may receive a Windows Phone 7 device as early as late July. Throw in all the speculation of an October launch for WP7 and the next few months are shaping up to be very interesting.

[androidspin via androidcentral]

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WP7 Rumors: HTC Gold appears on leaked roadmap

What is expected to be one of HTC's first Windows Phone 7 devices, the HTC Gold, has made an appearance on a leaked roadmap for the U.K. Market. Omio.com is reporting that the HTC Gold is due to hit the U.K. markets sometime in November of 2010.

The leaked U.K. roadmap is in line with previous reports from HTC that they will launch a Windows Phone 7 device by the end of 2010. Oddly, the Gold is the only Windows Phone 7 device on the leaked list.

The Gold joins the Monderian as HTC's leading candidates for the Windows Phone 7 market. We've seen signs that the Gold may be headed to Sprint while the Monderian may be headed to AT&T. Could their U.S. release coincide with the U.K. release? Or will the States get these phones first?

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WP7 Rumors: July Launch?

 

When Microsoft pulled back the curtain on Windows Phone 7 earlier this year at the 2010 Mobile World Congress, expectations called for a Holiday Season 2010 release date. Not too long ago, that projected release date was pulled back to October and now we're seeing signs that it may be pulled back to the end of July 2010.

An AT&T retail signage outline has been discovered identifying two Windows Phone 7 plaques to be set on or about July 24th. We don't expect phones to be on the shelf come July 24th but it's a good indication we might see WP7 phones sooner than expected.

It's not uncommon for retail stores to begin advertising new phones weeks, if not months, before the actual phones hit the shelves. So, the October launch may still ring true if not a September launch. Confidence is high that Microsoft will meet the Holiday Season 2010 deadline, it's now a question of how ahead of schedule Windows Phone 7 will be.

[read: Engadget.com]

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Rumors of the HTC HD3 running Windows Phone 7 device have surfaced yet again. The modestly detailed images have the HD3 sporting a 4.5" AMOLED screen, measuring 4.53" x .4" x 2.56", as well as having 1GB RAM, 1GB ROM, and 16GB memory under the hood.

Additionally, the HD3 will have a 1.5ghz Snapdragon processor and a 8mp camera capable of recording at 720p with 1080p playback. This could be another "fantasy phone" rendering of the HD3. The specs are almost identical to those we saw in the first imposter and both first surfaced from Chinese tech sites.

Real or not, the specs and pictures are impressive. However, for now we'll keep this filed under hopeful rumor.

Update: It should be noted that this was actually an old, concept rendering not attributed to HTC going back to March. In other words, quite far from fact. --Malatesta

[read: mobilitysite.com]

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Microsoft has already sent BING to the iPhone and now it looks as if Office Mobile may be following suit. A recent Microsoft job posting for a Business Division Software Engineer reads, in part, "In addition to the current Windows Mobile 6.5 and upcoming WM7 clients, with the recently announced alliance between Microsoft and Nokia we are working to bring Office Mobile to hundreds of millions of Nokia smartphone owners, followed by other leading Smartphone platforms."

One can only assume that the "other leading smartphone platforms" would include the iPhone 4 or possibly Android phones. While expansion isn't necessarily a bad thing, one has to wonder if Microsoft should keep their focus in-house and get Windows Phone 7 finely tuned before branching outwards.  Then again, Microsoft is a huge company and having more than one pot on the stove shouldn't be an issue.

[read: wmpoweruser.com]

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KIN update in the works?

Microsoft's KIN appears to be scheduled for an update later this summer. ROM aficionado Conflipper picked up on chatter to suggest that updates will add twitter replies, the ability to re-tweet, and the ability to view more than three Facebook pictures. You may even see You Tube support in this update.

Could this be the spark that gets the KIN rolling? Or will it require a data package that fits the scaled down Windows Phone better? Mid-summer is just around the corner and we'll keep an eye out for more information on the potential upgrade. I wonder if Microsoft will remember the calendar app with this upgrade.

Read: Microsoft Answers

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Following up on that Cannes Lions video yesterday, Mobility Digest (and 'Stepehn' in our comments, natch) noticed that when Kostas loads up that Xbox website, the site contains embedded Silverlight material--specifically an HD video.

Now, Microsoft has repeatedly stated, even as little as one month ago, that Silverlight won't be embedded in Mobile IE in WP7, at least not initially  Seems odd for them to want to hide such a feature since promoting Silverlight web development would be in their interest. However, the Mobile IE team is working quite hard and perhaps they have been ahead of schedule in building on features?

But to play devil's advocate, we never actually see any Silverlight content load or play. Then again there must be some type of Silverlight recognition going, since we don't get a grey placeholder box or something similar, like when say the iPhone/iPad can't load Flash.

Right now we'll file this under plausible. But until we hear from the Mobile IE team, Microsoft themselves or see it in action, we're going to remain a wee bit skeptical as we don't want to get anyone's hopes up.

Update: Actually, as pointed out in comments and evidenced by the picture below, Silverlight is not embedded. What you get is a notification to download Silverlight (assuming its supported), which is mentioned in the video. The static-image is automatic and nothing unique as can be seen by the screenshot from my Android HTC EVO. So yeah, nothing to see here folks :-/

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T-Mobile is due to fold up it's tent by the end of 2011.  Or so says 24/7 Wall St.

The financial analysis website has compiled a listing of companies they see as not making it to 2012. Other companies joining T-Mobile on the list include Blockbuster, Reader's Digest, KIA Motors, and Radio Shack.

While we're not holding our breath on this prediction, the opinion is based in part because T-Mobile is the number four wireless provider and will face competitive challenges that will either force the company to merge or collapse. Profits have declined over the past year which will make it difficult for T-Mobile to develop. The analysis points out that "it (T-Mobile) has to begin to offer 4G service to compete with Sprint’s new WiMax service and LTE-based products from AT&T and Verizon." and T-Mobile is likely not to get either complete before the competition offers such service.

It is yet to be determined how many new customers took advantage of their recent "Mother of all Father's Day" sale where every phone was free (two year commitment required) and the company is rumored to get the new iPhone 4. On the Windows Phone front, T-Mobile has seen some success in offering the HTC HD2 and we still don't know what impact Windows Phone 7 will have on the market. So all may not be as bad as 24/7 Wall St. makes it out to be.

So, what do you think? Is T-Mobile's goose cooked?

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For those of you who remember when Windows Phone 7 debuted, you may recall that the Xbox gaming hub was not 'live' at the time--the personal avatar didn't do the little jig  as it was just a place-holder, as well as not updating all the gaming achievements that you may have won.

As we approach RTM, we knew of course that would change and we're getting word now that, indeed the Xbox hub is now live and ready to go. From Michael Klucher, a WP7 developer:

My Windows Phone 7 device has really become my phone. I keep it updated with the latest builds and use it as I would any phone I’ve ever owned. I play games(from App Week), check my email, listen to music, and surf the web. This week started out like most others, I flashed my phone, entered my Windows Live ID, and went into the Games Hub…

Whoa! That’s me! By me of course I mean my Gamertag, Avatar, and latest Achievement in the Games Hub! I couldn’t believe it, we’ve had the Games Hub working for a while, but up until now it’s been on internal networks inside Microsoft. This week was the first time I really got to see my “true” gamer identity on the phone.

... It’s an incredible experience to see something that many of us have been working on really come together and shine

We can't be the only ones who are excited about this Xbox integration and we're pretty psyched to see this all in person at some point. Combined with the re-launch of XBox & Zune in the fall, Microsoft has a great opportunity for synergy here, lets hope they deliver.

[via Deranged Shaman ; Thanks, Sergio F., for the tip!]

 

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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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