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3 years ago

More anti-WP7 retailer bias, a fan responds as does Microsoft

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A few days ago we reported on PC Mag's "study" (we use that terms loosely since the sample was so small) on carriers and how they are pushing/not-pushing Windows Phone 7 in the stores, specifically if retail associates were supporting the platform or undermining it. Unfortunately, between their report and your user reports in comments (something we've heard from months too in forums), it seems that the retail associates are far from endorsing the new OS, even to those who are directly asking for it.

Now, two more reporters have run the same tests (more or less) and have had the same results. Jessica Van Sack of the Boston Herald shares her story doing the same experiment:

"I tested that theory at several Verizon, AT&T and Sprint wireless stores in downtown Boston on Friday, every sales rep, without fail, tried to sell me an iPhone or an Android phone while inevitably dismissing WP7 with vague phrases like “In terms of productivity, it’s just not there yet,” or “I’m not really sure about that one. I haven’t really used it.”

Likewise, Joe Romaine of International Business Times relates his story going back a few months ago to a T-Mobile store in Manhattan. The salesperson stated: "Windows Phone 7 is very unreliable. Its has many problems. We get complaints all the time from people who bought them from us." and proceeded to try and talk him out of the device.

All of this, while still anecdotal, seems to back up readers' experiences in the stores as well. However, Microsoft has responded to the matter to PC Mag directly. Greg Sullivan, Windows Phone product manager noted:

"It's true that there's work to do from a marketing standpoint, and we have teams in place that are doing retail salesperson training, providing them with evaluation devices so they can use it and become more familiar...There's a whole host of efforts that are being undertaken to help get the work out, and it does take a little time."

Sullivan finally concludes with hope that the Nokia deal helps in this regard, noting Nokia's strong retail presence. Also, perhaps disappointingly, Microsoft is not yet prepared to offer cash-incentives for retail associates who successfully push Windows Phone. For us, we're still convinced that we won't see any real 'breaking point' in Windows Phone in terms of marketshare till late 2011. By that time, we hope to see such reports of retail sabotaging on the decline.

For now, you can document your experiences by using this website, Windows Phone Tattletale, started by Robert McLaws (This replaces the earlier OneNote method that we reported on).

Source: PCMag, Boston Herald, International Business Times; Thanks, Brianna, for the heads up on 'Tattletale'

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3 years ago

'Breakout' marked down to Free in the Marketplace [Gaming]

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We covered 'Breakout' back in February and gave it high praise for its smooth and addicting gameplay, noting it was one of the best 'brick breaker' type games available (the other is 'Blockbuster'). At the time, the game was fetching for $1.29, a price we felt was well worth it.

Well, like that 'Orb' deal this game has dropped off to completely free--however, we're not sure if this is a time-limited offer or permanent, so we'd recommend downloading now to lock in that price. Highlights of the game include nice graphics (Metro-esque), ability to save mid-game, unlock on-board achievements and even create custom levels. In other words, give it a go, whaddya got to lose?

Grab it here in the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone featured in Havana Brown's new music video

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Confession: We have no idea who Havana Brown is, mostly because we're old and listen to punk. Still, that doesn't mean we can't be a little excited to see some obvious but schweet product placement, namely our prized Windows Phone, in a video by Ms. Brown who we're told is an "Australian DJ".

Her new video, 'We Run the Night' features a unidentified Windows Phone at the beginning for some serious screen time and a focus on Xbox LIVE, some texting and Facebook action. Skip to 0:13 and go up through 0:32 for the main scene. Stay for the dance song, if that's your thing (2nd confession: we love cheesy dance music). Anyways, this kind of exposure is always good to see.

Thanks, Danny A., for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Seidio vs. Mobi: Hard Shell head to head

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Seidio vs. Mobi: Hard Shell head to head

If you want to give your Windows Phone a little protection, a hard shell case is one option that won't weight you down. Mobi Products and Seidio both offer a hard shell case for various Windows Phones. These cases offer an extra layer of protection to the back and sides of the phone while adding very little overall bulk to your Windows Phone.

But does one stand out from the other? Is the Mobi case a better deal than the Seidio? Or is the higher priced Seidio hard case worth every penny?

Make the jump past the break and see how these two cases perform when used with the HTC HD7s.

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3 years ago

U.S. Cellular to offer first WP7 phone tomorrow - the HTC 7 Pro!

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It was just days ago that we reported that U.S. Cellular would be offering their first WP7 phone, an unspecified HTC device, "between now and the end of the year."  Well, it turns out that it would be less than a week later, on June 14th, that customers will be able to get an HTC 7 Pro (aka, HTC Arrive--see our coverage here) sporting Windows Phone 7.  The 7 Pro is available for $199.99 with a Belief Plan w/Data and/or a new 2-year contract.  The final price is also after a $100 rebate in the form of a Visa debit card.

Today's press release hyped the 7 Pro as a great device for multi-taskers and multi-media/gaming enthusiasts who are looking to "simplify their busy lives and have fun too."  It's not clear why the initial forecast was so murky, but the sooner the better for Microsoft, who is trying to break into a smartphone market dominated by Android and iPhones.  It's a good sign that another carrier is bringing WP7 onboard.

You can get yours here.

Source: U.S.Cellular

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Team shows off new Skydrive in Mango

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As a Windows Phone 7 user, you shouldn’t be jealous of Apple’s iCloud service. Most of the functionality in iCloud is already baked into your phone via SkyDrive and Hotmail. The good folks from the Windows Phone Team posted a story to show us how it all works together. It’s a great primer for SkyDrive/Hotmail integration in general (if you don’t already have a Push capable email account, they link off to explain how to forward your current email to Hotmail, which does), and to sweeten the deal they have included screenshots of the improvements we mentioned a week ago. Those features include:

  • Share photos stored on SkyDrive by way of email, text messages, IM - "SkyDrive lets you store thousands of pictures in the cloud. You can show them off to friends on your phone in the Pictures hub, and now you can share SkyDrive photos with anyone over email, text, or Messenger/Facebook."
  • Share videos on SkyDrive - "With Mango, all the goodness you had with photos has been extended to videos. Once you’re finished shooting your video, you can caption it and share immediately on SkyDrive, and the upload will happen in the background while you move on to other things."
  • Browse and search documents stored on SkyDrive - "Windows Phone lets you view folders and files directly on your phone, so when you group things on SkyDrive, you know they’ll be available with the same folder structure on your phone."
  • See what’s been shared with you - "More than 70% of the folders created on SkyDrive are shared with other people, which makes it all the more important to see everything shared with you on your phone. This pivot view will show you the complete list of documents shared with you, letting you open and edit in Excel, Word, and PowerPoint."
  • Search your SkyDrive documents - "If you store a lot of stuff on SkyDrive, being able to do a quick search is important. In the Office hub, you can easily search across your SkyDrive for the document you need without having to wade through your folders and other files."

Overall, a nice little package. Of course, it's already been mentioned by Micrsoft themselves that Skydrive will probably fold into the general LIVE services, including Xbox. So this is just the beginning of Redmond's big "cloud push".

Source: Inside Windows Live

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3 years ago

PlusPoints - App Spotlight

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PlusPoints - App Spotlight

HopNet Software has an interesting Windows Phone app on the Marketplace design to help those looking to lose a little around the middle. PlusPoints is designed to track your diet by a point system, the same point system used by Weight Watchers in their PointsPlus Program. To complete the Weight Watchers tie in, if you use the Weight Watchers eTools, you can access Weight Watchers' mobile site (Weight Watchers account required) from within the app.

For those not enrolled in Weight Watchers, you can still take advantage of the PlusPoints app by tracking your dietary points. Points are based on the fat, carbs, fiber and protein content of food. There is a calculator within the app that can be used to determine a food's points. Daily recommended points are calculated from your sex (male or female), age, height, and weight. From there you simply keep track of your daily intake, trying to eat within the daily point allowance.

PlusPoints is a free application (ad supported) and you can download it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace. If your dieting and need a way to track your calories, PlusPoints might be worth checking out.

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3 years ago

Verizon HTC Trophy - First Impressions

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Verizon Wireless Customers had to wait a while to get their first Windows Phone 7 device, the HTC Trophy. It finally hit shelves just a bit ago but was it worth the wait?  We've gotten our hands a review unit of the HTC Trophy and the first impressions are good.

The Trophy sports a 3.8" screen, 5mp camera, 16gb of storage, along with all the typical Windows Phone 7 specs.  Speaking of the screen, the Trophy's screen seems to have a little more pop to it. Maybe it's the red theme.

Compared to other HTC Windows Phones, the Trophy is most comparable to the HTC Surround. The Verizon Trophy is a touch shorter and thinner than the Surround but very close in weight.

The Trophy makes a nice first impression and we'll get a full review up on the site shortly to see if that impression lasts.

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3 years ago

Screen Technology Showdown: HD7s vs HD7 vs Focus

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If you've read our AT&T HTC HD7s review, we gave the phone fairly high rankings despite the let-down of Super LCD--the one key difference between it and it's brother, the HD7, on T-Mobile.

Since that review, we've managed to get a side by side between those two devices to get a better idea what, if any, the difference in screen quality there are present. In short, while the Super LCD on the AT&T HD7s is a little punchier and bolder, it's only slightly better than the HD7 and is still dwarfed by the Samsung Focus Super AMOLED, which is brighter, punchier and works better in sunlight.

Still, the HD7s looks good "in charcoal" as opposed to the chromed-out version on T-Mobile and they seemed to have fixed the loose volume rocker, which was present (and annoying) on the T-Mobile version.

The biggest disappointment though with the the HD7s/Super LCD is the "screen ghosting" (seen after the break) which we though would be fixed with the newer screen technology (the HD7 suffers from the same distortion). In conclusion, if you like the HD7 you'll like the HD7s as it slightly improves things. But if you were not sold on the HD7 before, then the HD7s willl not convince you to change up. And we really doubt and Focus owners will drop the Super AMOLED for Super LCD. And just think, this fall, Windows Phone users stand a good chance of getting a taste of Samsung's Super AMOLED Plus tech (see PhoneArena), leaving Super LCD even further behind.

Hit the break for some more "versus" photos and see for yourself. *Note: Brightness on every device here was set to 'High'.

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3 years ago

Samsung to overtake Nokia as top smartphone maker

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Nokia has been the largest producer of smartphones in the world since 1996.  However, a recent Reuters article says that is going to change very soon, as Samsung is poised to supplant the Finnish powerhouse by the end of the quarter.  And if that news wasn't alarming enough for Nokia, projections by Nomura analysts point to Apple becoming #2 on the list as soon as Quarter 4, and HTC landing in a virtual tie at third sometime in 2012. 

This signals what analysts say is a shift to Asian manufacturers gaining more and more ground.  Nokia will remain the largest overall cellphone maker through all of this, but it is clear that smartphones is where the industry is heading, with the exception of emerging countries.  If they continue to decline in the smartphone market, they may not be long for this world.

It is no secret that Nokia is putting all its eggs in the WP7 basket, which it hopes will arrive in Quarter 4.  The company has been steadily losing marketshare, but has really been fighting to tread water since partnering with Microsoft, seeing it's stock prices dwindle amongst other things.

Source: Reuters; Via: TechWatch

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3 years ago

Strategy: Windows Phone is Microsoft's only solution to portable gaming

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Depending on your view of things, this will either be great news or bad news--but evidently Microsoft is 100% committed in driving Windows Phone as their gaming platform, meaning we won't be seeing a "portable Xbox" system anytime soon.

According to Dennis Durkin, Microsoft’s chief operating and financial officer of the company’s Interactive Entertainment Business, who spoke with Pocket-lint recently at E3, Microsoft just does not see stand-alone portable consoles as a viable option these days:

"In a term of a dedicated handheld there are questions of the viability of that business model..."

"People have been asking for a long time about handhelds. It’s a really interesting time in that market. Look at the Nintendo 3DS, it’s been a slower start than analysts and others had expected, but it’s a super-competitive space. Any dedicated portable device like a camera, or a portable gaming device like the 3DS has a tough time."

Going further, Marc Whitten, corporate vice president of Xbox LIVE noted that at least on Windows Phone:

“Today on Windows Phone, Xbox Live games make up less than 1 per cent of the number of games that are on there. They are over 30 per cent of the units of the games downloaded on the phone, and they over 70 per cent of the revenue. That’s because consumers value the experience and integration of the game with Xbox Live.”

We certainly see why revenue is higher, as they charge more, a lot more in fact, than 3rd party developers. Evidently though, people are buying them, despite some issue in pricing and those broken achievements in a handful of games.

For us Windows Phone users, in our opinion this is good news as it means Microsoft will concentrate only on our platform for game development and not create an even more fragmented system (PC, Xbox, Phone and then portable console). Surely we are years from making current 360 games truly portable, so any handheld system would have to be an in-betweener Phone vs. Xbox 360. Plus, as pointed out earlier, it's all about in convergence is key here: people want one device aka "the phone" to do their games, bills, email, music, etc.

Speaking of convergence, WinRumors spoke with Microsoft about that whole Xbox 360/Kinect/Windows Phone tie in we saw months ago at Mobile World Congress: ETA is sometime "next year" as they're currently developing and testing a few games. All we know is this feature can't come fast enough.

Source: Pocket-lint; via WinRumors

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3 years ago

Mango vs iOS5 with features

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Mango vs iOS5 with features

In the aftermath of the "iOS5 has copied features from other platforms while they sue manufacturers for copying them" drama going around since this year's WWDC one has to look at the features in both iOS5 and upcoming Mango. 

For everyone who's in the loop with WP7 and how the OS is very young in comparison to Android and iOS, it seems rather odd that one of the older standing and more established platforms would copy WP7 after it has been continuously struck down for lacking too many features. My personal favorite is copy & paste. According to a select minority, we still don't have copy & paste. It's as if NoDo never came around (unfortunately for some this is still the case).

Windows Phone 7 Center have compiled a table comparing features between the iPhone, iPad and WP7 and it's interesting to note what WP7 has built in. To me this proves how iOS is simply a stand for apps, whereas WP7 is more integrated and offers a more complete solution without the use of apps for basic features. What I do find odd about iOS5 is the Twitter integration, where's Facebook? Surely if you're going to implement social media into your OS you'd also use the largest social networking website?

Check out the table after the break. 

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3 years ago

Yearly major release cycle for WP7 confirmed by new job post

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Seems Microsoft is planning to keep to their promise on hitting the nail with major releases for Windows Phone 7, which will be occurring on a yearly cycle. In the job vacancy post below we can clearly see the position being heavily involved with updates between a yearly schedule. 

What do you think about this and how well do you believe Mango will be deployed?

See the job post after the break. 

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3 years ago

Broken Xbox Live Achievements on Windows Phone

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Broken Xbox Live Achievements on Windows Phone

For many gamers, Xbox Live Achievements are the Windows Phone platform’s main selling point. They provide primary and secondary goals to strive for in games. They also make it easy for other people to see what you’ve accomplished. Earning Achievements contributes to GamerScore – an overall score that quantifies a person’s accomplishments across Xbox 360, Windows Phone, and Games for Windows Live games. It’s a brilliant and addictive system.

Except when something goes wrong. Despite the apparently rigorous testing that games undergo during the Xbox Live certification process, sometimes a game is released with one or more with unobtainable Achievements. We call an Achievement broken or glitched when it is impossible for gamers to unlock through any means.

Why are glitched Achievements a big deal? As I said, people get addicted to earning Achievements. Obsessive compulsive types eat them up. People who really buy into the Achievement system sort of calculate the full 200 GamerScore into a game’s purchase price. They feel ripped off if they can’t get the full 200 no matter what they do. Even for less compulsive gamers, it can be frustrating to go through the effort to satisfy an Achievement’s unlock conditions and find that it didn’t unlock.

Head past the jump for the full list of broken Xbox Live Achievements and what’s being done to fix them.

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3 years ago

Doodle Jump - Review

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Doodle Jump - Review

Slowly but surely, all of the major iPhone gaming hits are finding their way to Windows Phone. It’s important that Microsoft’s young platform has the games that people like and want to play. The latest game to make the jump to Xbox Live is Doodle Jump, originally developed by Lima Sky. The Windows Phone version was ported by Mr. Goodliving (who were shut down by owner RealNetworks prior to the game’s actual release) and Game-Lion Studios. Doodle Jump has been a huge success on other platforms due to its unique, appealing art style, precise accelerometer-based controls, and easy-to-learn, hard-to-master game play.

Is Doodle Jump just as much of a standout on Windows Phone? Step, no, jump past the break to find out.

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