Rumors

Microsoft has a lot riding on the launch of Windows Phone 7. And it looks as if they're ready to put some serious cash to help insure its success.

According to Jonathan Goldberg, a telecommunications analyst at Deutsche Bank, Microsoft is prepared to fund initial marketing, development and manufacturing subsidies with as much as $400 million. Goldberg stated, “This is make-or-break for them. They need to do whatever it takes to stay in the game."

In a recent visit to Microsoft, Goldberg said company executives told him that along with carrier and manufacturing partners, Microsoft would likely spend billions in the first year for Windows Phone 7 marketing and development. While these numbers are high, Goldberg estimates that Verizon, Motorola and Google spent $100 million to market the Droid line of Android phones.

Microsoft will definitely have some ground to catch up in the smartphone market. Google's Android has gotten a healthy corner on the market releasing what seems to be a device every other week. Apple's "antenna gate" appears to have faded quickly into the sunset with the iPhone 4G sales not missing a beat.

But will $400 million do the trick? The obvious answer is, "if it's spent right." Windows Phone 7 preview units were well received so it is unlikely that the software will be a complete dud. The big three of WP7 manufacturers (HTC, Samsung, and LG) are working on a few, "not too shabby looking" devices, and software development is building up steam.

The funding will definitely help all of these efforts. Hopefully some of the funding will be left over to help the consumers at the cash register when the time comes to actually buy a Windows Phone 7.

Source: TechCrunch.com

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HTC has yet another Windows Phone being presented to the FCC for approval. This time around, a nice yellow label details the HTC PC40100.

FCC documentation indicates the PC40100 is fitted with wifi and bluetooth connectivity and EDGE 850/1900 band (no 3G bands listed). At first thought, with the yellow label, this could be the HD Mini heading to U.S. market. However, without 3G bands, that's unlikely.

Could this be another Windows Phone 7 devices slated for European release this fall? If so, then you have to ask why send it to the FCC to begin with?

via: htcsource.com

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A leaked "end of life" list has surfaced from Verizon Wireless that takes every Windows Phones off Verizon's shelves.

According to the document the HTC Touch Pro 2 has seen it's last days (EOL 6/29/2010) while the HTC Imagio, Ozone and Samsung Omnia 2 have their days seriously numbered (EOL 3/31/2011). All of which essentially wipes Verizon's slate clean of all Windows Phones.

Verizon isn't just axing Windows Phones. Android, Blackberry and Palm devices also make an appearance on the list. However, with Verizon rumored to be giving Windows Phone 7 the cold shoulder, could this be the end of a Verizon Windows Phone?  Or is Verizon warming up to Windows Phone 7 and simply cleaning off the shelves to make room for WP7 inventory?

via: precentral.com source: phonedog.com

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In the Bluetooth SIG documents on the LG C900, they have listed as around September 28th as the release date for said device. If you remember, LG said the same thing back in July too.

Since today is a slow news day on Windows Phone 7, many sites are posting this story from Phone Arena, which while interesting, really doesn't say anything new. But we have a feeling that regular folk are construing this to mean somewhere an LG C900 will be available at the end of September to actually purchase.

So far we know

The launch of Windows Phone 7 will be a coordinated effort and we can't see AT&T or LG jumping the gun on Microsoft. However, there is no reason to doubt that the LG C900 will be ready to launch at the end of September, nor do we doubt HTC and Samsung will also have their hardware near finalized at that time either.  All of this should be obvious as we are at the tale-end of the WP7 pre-launch.

In other words, Bluetooth SIG + LG ≠ internal-carrier release plans. So some perspective: First week of October = Microsoft unveiling Windows Phone 7, with devices becoming available soon after; November release dates for the U.S.

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More than a few of us have high expectations for device manufacturers when it comes to hardware for Windows Phone 7. In particular, the manufacturers that are traditional Windows Mobile powerhouses such as Samsung and HTC have a very high bar set for them.

The hardware that we've seen leaked and rumored up to this point has been decent, but not quite up the lofty expectations that some of us have visualized. Other than the two LG devices, everything seems to be very "black slab".

Finally though, HTC gives us some hardware that breaks the mold. The T8788 offers a landscape-slider form factor, though from pictures the only thing sliding is a large speaker. This speaker, in conjunction with the included kickstand, could make this a strong media device. If I were king of the world, I'd love to see the back of the device slide both ways; one to expose the speaker, the other to provide the hardware keyboard.

What do you guys think? Is this too radical of a form factor? Or is this just what the doctor ordered?

An additional picture is after the break.

[via: Engadget]

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So far, we've seen leaked "release" devices from Samsung, LG, HTC and Asus, most of which can be seen above (sorry Asus, forgot to add you):

The question is straight forward: how are you feeling about the hardware so far?

Granted, we don't know a lot of the detailed specs, so this is sort of unfair. On the other hand, just going by aesthetics alone and general feel, we know some of you have opinions on the issue. Plus we can always revisit the topic in the fall.

Take the poll, shout your opinion in comments!

How do you feel about the WP7 hardware so far?online survey
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Just a few days after images of the C900 from LG showed up, a video has appeared with what is supposedly the E900.

The difference here is the E900 has no slider keyboard and in turn, seems quite thin.

Both the E900 and C900 dovetail nicely with what LG has said their plans were: sliding keyboard for the U.S. market (AT&T), black-slab for Europe.

Other than a 3.7 inch screen, not much is known about the hardware.

Only downside with this leak is the video was shot on a cell phone, so the quality is less than stellar.

Check the video tour after the break!

[via MobileTechWorld]

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10

Samsung Cetus Pictured

Finally, details are starting to leak out regarding some hardware for Windows Phone 7. Although we don’t get much more information about Samsung’s Cetus than we did from the Bluetooth SIG we do get some (blurry) pictures courtesy of Engadget.

We do know from previous leaks that we’re looking at a 4” WVGA AMOLED screen and the minimum 5MP Camera; and if you squint just right you can make out the rumored front facing VGA camera. Current rumors are putting this phone as one of AT&T’s launch devices. These pictures do show a much more curvy profile than the other Samsung WP7 device we saw floating around last week; perhaps we’re looking at a couple of Samsung phones in the not-too-distant future?

Is the sleek black slab look enough for you? Watcha think? See more pictures after the break.

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File under 'not surprising' but still 'disappointing':

It looks like one type of application you won't be seeing in the new Windows Phone7 Marketplace (besides adult themed ones) are ones that use the BitTorrent protocol.

In a back and forth I had with Blue Planet Apps, they revealed that they won't be bringing over their Android 'DTor' BitTorrent client to Windows Phone 7. Evidently, Blue Planet Apps had already spoken with Microsoft on the issue:

...[Microsoft] says that torrents represent an unknown legal issue which would violate their policy...

Legal or not, it sounds like Microsoft just does not want to touch the controversial file-sharing system with a 10-foot pole and would rather just avoid the whole issue (and thus maintaining their relationships with their software partners, natch). Here is a case-difference between WP7 and Android as theGoogle's market place does allow 'DTor' to be sold, no questions.

Some good news? Blue Planet Apps does plan to port over RoboPrint and BioLock to Windows Phone 7 (mentioned on Twitter here and here).

Update: BluePlanet clarifies in comments that Microsoft is not 100% against a BitTorrent app, but rather this is all new for them so they're taking it step by step on these grey area programs.

Fun factoid: Windows Mobile was the first mobile OS to have a BitTorrent client, Adisasta's WMTorrent, which is still available and is quite a nice program.

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With Twikini seemingly out of the picture and Windows Live not resolving their Twitter API issue, Windows Phone 7 is a little behind on the Twitter front (though lets not forget about Seesmic).

TheUnwired.net has an interesting theory, albeit lacking hard evidence, that Microsoft may be providing some type of native Twitter support after all.

This is one of those we could seriously believe Microsoft doing before the 1.0 official launch and think it is certainly a possibility.

The story goes like this: Michael Klucher, Microsoft's Lead Program Manger of the XNA Development Platform, showed off a few pictures of some Windows Phone 7 games and tweeted them to his account. The photos's EXIF data confirm a Samsung camera had taken presumably from those Samsung developer units.

The interesting part comes from the Twitter client information, which every Tweet marks to ID the originating software e.g. "Seesmic" or "Twikini". In this case, it says "To be named later" which is...well certainly odd and interesting. Even more so, it links back to www.microsoft.com (dun dun dun!)

The theory goes that Kuchner is using a beta version of a native Twitter app for Windows Phone 7. Ta-da!

Like we said, totally plausible and we hope, very true, but at this point...just lots of circumstantial evidence. Read more at The Unwired.net.

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Pfffttt...Although LG has been boasting big about Microsoft and Windows Mobile/Phone for...well a few years now, not much has come of it. (See last week)

As it turns out, LG reportedly plans to launch 20 phones this year, with 15 of those being Android devices, the remaining five for Windows Phone 7.

He said that 4.2 million phones will be Android-based, while 1.8 million will use Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system, the executive said.

"We can't exactly predict the market. But one thing clear is LG is heavily betting on Google’s Android operating system. The number of Android phones will be more than earlier expected," an LG spokesman said.

Hmmm, lets see if this ratio balances out in 18 months?

Okay, I guess we shouldn't be too shocked. Android is selling like hotcakes, Windows Phone 7 is...well, untested at this point. LG needs to make money so they're going to follow that trail as any wise company would do.

But we get it LG: you love us and Android, someday you'll leave her because we're really the best, but you don't want to lose the house. So for now we'll play the part of the mistress. Hmmmph

Finally, it is still worth noting that LG plans to have five WP7 devices--so far we've only seen one, the Panther GW910.

[The Korea Times via TamsPPC]

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LG had some interesting things to say, at least according to 'What Hi-Fi?'

First, we get more confirmation of a Europe-first launch, where LG says they'll have their 3.8" device based on the Optimus-line (previously seen to be running Android, looky here) ready to go, ahead of Samsung and HTC. This device will presumably be lacking a hard-keyboard.

The next bit is that in the U.S., we'll be getting the version with the keyboard, like above (Panther/GW910), in November. We're guessing AT&T for that one, but wouldn't mind a Sprint model to kick around.

Finally, LG is either trying to make Microsoft look good or they really believe in Windows Phone 7, as they supposedly told Korean reporters that

 ... it expects WP7 to outperform the two rival smartphone operating systems

The rivals being of course Android and the iPhone (don't you love how Blackberry is not even mentioned anymore?). Sounds good to us.

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So even though Verizon was listed as a launch-partner for Windows Phone 7 back in February at Mobile World Congress, a rumor is now going around that they won't be carrying any devices featuring Redmond's new OS. Why?

A few days ago, BGR revealed what is suppose to be Verizon's road map for device launches for 2010/2011. It was chock full of Android and LTE information but there was zero mention of any Windows Phone 7 devices--not even the HTC Spark_W. (Dun dun dun)

Forget about the fact that BGR's Verizon roadmap also omits the following, according to MediaBistro

  • There is no mention of the iPhone being sold by Verizon in 2011
  • There is no mention of any Microsoft Windows Phone 7 based smartphones
  • There is no mention of any BlackBerry devices
  • There is no mention of any webOS based tablets from HP

...the notion is that Verizon is dropping everyone and just going 100% Android? While we have no doubts Verizon is doing a big push with Google, we find it hard to believe that they have no use for RIM's Blackberry anymore, let alone Windows Phone 7.

However, there is this quote from Engadget on June 30th talking about Verizon and the KIN:

Our source says that the fallout from this troubled partnership is that Microsoft has backed away from Verizon as a Windows Phone 7 launch partner, claiming that the first handsets you see won't be offered on the CDMA carrier -- rather that we should expect GSM partners to get first crack.

In this case, the tables are reversed with Microsoft being the one to back away from Verizon, partially due to their poor handling of the KIN (e.g. jacking up the cost on the data plan).

Our thoughts? Sure, anything is possible. Verizon is clearly in love with Android, but their "roadmap" seems incomplete to our eyes. We also think that sales make the deal and if Windows Phone 7 does well, Microsoft and Verizon will warm up to each other and work out their differences. After all, not everyone was thrilled with Android either. Finally, the lack of evidence doesn't mean we can just fill in the blanks with our own speculation. Lets wait and see what happens, eh?

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Not much is known or evidently can be said about this device, but it appears Samsung is tossing around another prototype device featuring Windows Phone 7.

Perhaps it's the Cetus (SGH-i917)?

Though rather large and blocky, the device seems to feature, unsurprisingly, an AMOLED screen. Due to the Twitter's location, we're betting this isn't necessarily a device for the U.S., but who knows what Samsung has up their sleeve.

Our overall reaction: meh

[via @andrejt; pic]

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Busy if not unexciting day for HTC leaks so far...

First, it appears that those earlier pics of the HTC Schubert were mis-identified. Instead, it seems that it is actually the HTC Mozart, a more low-end WP7 device headed for Telstra  (rumored for T-Mobile too). A few more non-thrilling images are below via Xmoo on Twitter (as evidenced by the low-quality images, he must be using an HTC camera--zing!)

So for those thinking "Is that all HTC's got?", the answer would be "???".

The other info is on the HTC Spark, which is, we're told, basically an HTC HD2 with a smaller screen. The Spark_W was mentioned for Verizon awhile back, but who knows about that anymore.

Feh.

We're still waiting for the big guns from HTC but at least appreciate the fact that Windows Phone 7 will be on a wide-range of devices/price points--well, as wide a range as "black slab" can go at least.

[via WMPU 1,2]

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Well, here it is folks, just in time for Monday morning--the HTC Schubert, which is expected to be one of the first GSM phones featuring Windows Phone 7 to hit the market.

Part of the device's sexy looks comes form the aluminum unibody design, much like the Android-based HTC Legend (see more on that here).

Unfortunately while we have pictures, we don't have any specifications for the device, though you can bet on at least a 1GHz processor and ample RAM like all WP7 Chassis 1 devices.

Watch the full video after the break and here are some screenshots below. Our quick impression? We likey. Your thoughts? Lets us know in comments.

[247 Windows phone via Solo Palmari]

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In addition to the basic functions of TellMe for Windows Phone 7, including make a call, do a search and launch a program, evidently you can also command the device to play music, much like our current phones.

MobilitySite published a list of the commands themselves, which should be familiar enough to any long time VoiceCommand user. The Zune command is in the following format:

“Play ” where the category will be artist, album, song, etc and the item will be an item of the category you listed. i.e. “Play Artist U2”.

So that's some good news even though many of you have expected that feature to be there anyways.  In addition, since TellMe is primarily a cloud-based system, we expect the TellMe function to grow and expand with future updates to the OS, enabling a host of other features. On launch, we'll settle for the basics we suppose.

Now f I could only muster the confidence to blurt out "Play Lady Gaga Poker Face" in public, I'll be all set. 

[via WMPU]

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We're headed into the finial lap for the Windows Phone 7 launch and we think Microsoft still has a few tricks up their sleeves to announce before release.

Next week, Microsoft is confirmed to be at Gamescom, the European version of E3 boasting to be the world's largest gaming conference with "...245,000 visitors, more than 4,000 journalists and 458 exhibitors from 31 countries". Yowza.

While just being there is expected, Microsoft is reportedly confirmed, in addition, to have " a full conference...and that they had several announcements to make".

No doubt Microsoft will have something to say about Kinect (aka Project Natal), but we're going to be paying close attention for any Windows Phone 7 gaming announcements--after all, Europe appears to be slightly ahead of the U.S. market for release, so what better time to show off some big Xbox/WP7 titles?

We're still hoping/betting on a 'Halo' port of some sort for Redmond's latest mobile OS. But what do you folks think?

[via Neowin.net]

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Awhile back, project 'Menlo' was talked about as a new research area for Microsoft. What it exactly entailed was not so clear and today, well, it's only a little more so...

Evidently a new paper (.pdf warning) was published by Microsoft where they say:

Menlo is a prototype mobile device with a capacitive touch screen (4.1? diagonal, 800×480) running Microsoft Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2 which incorporates a Bosch BMA150 3-axis accelerometer and Bosch BMP085 digital pressure sensor (barometer).

That device is pictured above. On top of that hardware is a new program called "Greenfield" which is "a sensor-centric program allowing users to retrace their footsteps when seeking to find their cars."

Basically all of this comes down to Microsoft exploring the future of mobile computing and computing in general (e.g. Singularity). Like we've mentioned before, this is cool stuff to learn about and if you can remember it 2-4 years from now, you'll probably see some of the results from this work. But don't look for much of this anytime soon.

ZDNet has more detailed info for those interested.

 

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There’s not much to see here, but we all knew that HTC could only be quiet on the subject of Windows Phone 7 for so long. Granted, there’s not much to see in the FCC filing; but we already know the minimum hardware specs anyway. The phone does support the GSM 850/UMTS I and II bands; AT&T anyone?

We’ve been under the impression for a while that we could expect hardware from HTC, Samsung, LG, and ASUS. Clues about hardware from many of those vendors has already made the rounds, now we’re just waiting for something official.

[FCC via Engadget]

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