4 years ago
Best of Smartphone Experts, 8 August 2010
4 years ago
Windows Phone 7 gets an OS update; Apps populating the Marketplace
Easily one of the biggest concerns about Windows Phone 7 is not so much the initial limitations, but rather how often Microsoft updates the OS to address those. Fact is, Microsoft does not have a track record to go by, leaving many potential power users here...skeptical.
Today we have some good news in this regard as Microsoft has already updated the developer release of the OS via the Zune software as evidenced up above (from MobileTechWorld). Of course we won't know how often this will happen after release, but it goes to show how easy the process should be in theory. Looks good to us.
The other good news is that Microsoft is populating the store with more apps, including "NY Times Reader, Yelp, YouTube, AT&T Uverse, Stocks, Weather, Translator". The rest can be seen in the collage below. Before there were maybe 3 or 4 apps (some of which were recently demoed), so this is an improvement for sure. Also worth noting are the icons, there seems to be two themes: basic Metro and full on color.
The image and info comes via Justin Angel (who still doesn't have a device, but has "hacked" his way this to this point).
[Thanks, Daniel G, for the tip!]
4 years ago
Microsoft 'Menlo' project gets outed: next-gen mobile?
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.
4 years ago
Android & mystery battery drains: things we won't miss with Windows Phone 7
[Okay, we're doing it. We're call out Android a bit here to serve as example of why their model can be bad for users.]
Editorial: There's no doubt that Android is kicking butt these days, having ousted RIM for the #1 spot in the U.S. and racing to overpass the iPhone like nobody's business. But it's not all perfect.
Recently, the official Facebook app received a big makeover on Android. Everyone downloaded it and then people started noticing severe battery drain issues. It took forum members to engage in back-and-forth discussions, pseudo-scientific controlled tests and investigating what was the culprit. Why? Because everyone has different devices, setups and have different updated software, so the Facebook connection was not obvious.
And that's the problem. Android's programming schema allows access to power-management features, data, screen, GPS, etc. on the device. A simple coding screw up and you're app is now sucking juice, causing glitches or worse, not working with the latest release of Android OS (whatever this month's silly dessert name is). Who notices this? You, the end user because there is no formal testing system in the Market to prevent this thing from happening in the first place. Then you have those security scares with potentially malicious software.
Recently I upgraded to Android 2.2 'Froyo' (rolls eyes) and now my Gmail on my second account stopped syncing and HTC Sense crashes. Or I upgraded Seesmic to the latest version and its fonts are screwed up. Facebook causes a mystery battery drain. Etc. Don't get me wrong, the HTC EVO is a fun device but Android is very far from a perfect platform (though with 'Froyo' I can at least finally copy text from my own Gmail, weeee!).
Despites all of its limitations (yes, there a lot for v1.0), this is the kind of thing Windows Phone 7 seeks to alleviate and I'm all for it. Listen, I did my time in forums playing "Lets fix the OS!" and "Why does my device suddenly feel laggy?" or "Is it me, or is the latest update to this program terrible?". In WP7, power management is done for developers--they don't touch it because the code itself is managed, so the Facebook situation should never happen. Nor will conflicts between HTC Sense and the OS, or OEM customizations which delay OS updates (and become a source of frustration for users).
Android may be open, it may be growing exponentially, but its model is something even I want to get away from. Spending time in phone forums playing Sherlock Holmes is not my idea of fun anymore, nor is beta testing software.
4 years ago
HTC Windows Phone 7 Hardware Shows up at FCC, FINALLY
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]
4 years ago
Verizon Touch Pro 2 no longer being sold? Cue the bugle...
Say it ain't so!
While we don't have official word from Verizon, it appears that the Touch Pro 2's run has unexpectedly come to halt, at least for online sales.
When we (and a few others) go to the Verizon Wireless site, enter our zip and look under Windows Mobile devices, we see the venerable Ozone, Imagio, Omnia II and Fathom, but no Touch Pro 2.
We can't help but think it's been pulled from circulation as opposed to just out-of-stock. This comes not too long after their second MR update and lets be honest, Verizon wasn't the fastest cat out the door when releasing this phone.
On the bright side: gotta clear stock for Windows Phone 7? Plus we're sure stores probably still have one or two hanging around.
RIP Verizon Touch Pro 2, you were unique amongst the herd.
[Thanks, segadc, for the tip!]
4 years ago
Asus phone featuring Windows Phone 7 shows itself
Who would have thought that one of Asus's prototype (?) phones featuring Windows Phone 7 would show up in Pakistan (via Twitter)?
Nothing is known about the CPU, radio, camera or what carrier--all we can tell is it's a black slab with a nice brushed metal face. Not to shabby, but obviously those specs for Chassis 1 are pretty strict with little in the way of differentiation so far.
Will we ever see Asus in the U.S.? Probably not anytime soon, but hey, we're hopin' they make a deal somewhere, sometime.
[Shaistajafri (Twitter) via Pocketnow]
4 years ago
Developers start to grumble. Will they be ready for WP7 in October?
Although we've been impressed so far with Microsoft's execution of Windows Phone 7, not all are happy and we're starting to see why.
While some 3,000+ developer devices are out in the wild, that is a drop in the bucket of those who want/need a device to actually test their applications on in time for an October release. Of course, we get it: logistically its hard to make thousands of pre-production devices and make them available to developers and ship them out--it's no trivial problem for Microsoft. Nor is deciding who gets priority for the phones.
Still, at least one enthusiast Silverlight programmer has taken to his Twitter stream to vent some and we kind of see his point too. After all, we have maybe 10 weeks till release (!) and developers are still missing programming tools and hardware to work on. Justin Angel believes this is a recipe for disaster, where there will be a clash between what developers have worked on via an incomplete emulator versus how it actually performs.
Other have noted that this is just run-of-the-mill for any new software platform, as we've seen these type of issues on WebOS, Android and even the iPhone when they were being rolled out. On the other hand, Microsoft may have to do better to get this right, despite keeping on track for a holiday release.
We're not developers, but we do see both sides here. Hopefully Justin and others will be able to get a device soon, Microsoft can deliver some of those features for the emulator and we'll have some solid software come October. We should finally note that "big" developers (Netflix, Foursquare, New York Times, Seesmic, etc.) have long had all the tools and hardware, so this seems more about independent developers at this point.
4 years ago
Microsoft KIN updated yet again
The Microsoft KIN has now received its second software update since being axed back in June. As with the first update, the second round deals primarily with tweaking the KIN's Twitter interface.
Basically, the update allows for Twitter replies to show up on a tweet and The KIN Loop now shows pictures from picture links directly in the shell without having to open the browser.
If you are one of the few owning a KIN, the updates can be accessed through the KIN's over-the-air update system. Speculation on why Microsoft continues to update a dead device range from testing out Twitter functionality that may land on Windows Phone 7 to testing OTA updates.
Then again, these updates may have simply been close to being finished when the plug was pulled and Microsoft didn't want to leave any loose ends. Regardless of the reasoning it's nice to see Microsoft lending support to those who continue to use the KIN.
4 years ago
XDA developer working on Market 2.0; will support Windows Phone 7
Well, the tweet says it all.
Of course what it means exactly is unclear, but with the recent ruling on DRM and 'jailbreaking', there's no reason to think that XDA members won't be able to unlock our devices at some point and support 'sideloading'. Just like we suggested.
footnote: While XDA Market is the product of XDA-developers member davidgiga, it isn't an official XDA-developers product.
4 years ago
Windows Mobile U.S. market share drops below 10%; no one is shocked
File this under "duh" but for those who are wondering, Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.x has dipped below 10% in terms of market share in the U.S, according to NPD.
To put that in perspective, a year and half ago it was at 20%.
In a way, it is odd since devices like the ubiquitous HTC Touch Pro 2 and drool worthy HD2 had a lot of headlines and presumably market share, but alas it was not so as many more switched to Android.
Other numbers for those with morbid curiosity:
- RIM 28% (down from 32%)
- Android 33%
- iPhone 22%
- WebOS 4%
Like we said, not even Android ousting the aging (and increasingly boring) RIM was that shocking (didn't something like 6 gazillion Android devices come out in 2010 so far?). However, this does put into perspective the challenge Microsoft has in terms of branding and recouping consumer awareness.
Hey, at least we're not as bad as HP Palm.
4 years ago
T-Mobile releases Q2 numbers
T-Mobile has released its 2010 Second Quarter financial numbers and while revenues increased slightly, the customer base continued its decline.
Total revenues are being reported at $5.36 billion in the second quarter of 2010, up $5.34 billion from 2009's second quarter.
For the second quarter of 2010, total customers declined by 93,000. T-Mobile saw a net customer additions of 325,000 in the second quarter of 2009. The company reported a decline of 77,000 customers during the first quarter of 2010. In the end, T-Mobile is serving 33.6 million customers at the close of the 2010 second quarter.
As we saw with AT&T and Verizon's quarterly reports, T-Mobile experienced an 18% increase in data service revenues. During the 2010 second quarter the company earned $1.17 billion on data. Of the 33.6 million customers, 6.5 million were using 3G capable smartphones, an increase of 25% from the 2010 first quarter and dramatically up from the 2.1 million reported in the second quarter 2009.
“In the second quarter of 2010, customers embraced T-Mobile USA’s industry leading value which makes it simple and affordable for consumers to trade-up to next generation products and services,” said Robert Dotson, President and CEO, T-Mobile, USA. “The number of 3G smartphones in the hands of our customers year-over-year has tripled to 6.5 million supported by a network that offers the broadest reach of 4G speeds in the U.S. as our growth continues through data revenues.”
4 years ago
What's Microsoft teasing here? (Update: Arc Touch Mouse?)
Your guess is as good as ours as to what Microsoft's currently teasing on Twitter. So far, they've only said "Don’t be so touchy…flat is where it’s at." Maybe it's a new Zune HD. Or maybe it's a Windows Phone 7 device. (But with Microsoft branding!?!?) A tablet? An e-reader? Some sort of trackpad? Search us, but we'll be keeping an eye on it, for sure. [via @msfthardware]
Update: So Neowin is reporting that this lil' gizmo is the new Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse, which supposedly features a multi-touch track pad on top and acts as a mouse otherwise. This is reportedly to take advantage of the multi-touch features of Windows 7 without investing in an expensive screen. Sounds cool. It's supposed to be available in September. -Malatesta
4 years ago
Windows Phone 7 can't connect to hidden wireless networks? Yikes.
[This will make your blood boil for some of you. Please try to keep your rage in check in the comments, kthx!]
Paul Thurrott, who is now safely in Germany playing with his Windows Phone 7 developer device, has found yet another limitation (see the earlier write up on embedded calendars).
Evidently, Windows Phone 7 cannot see ergo connect to hidden wireless networks, the kind where you don't broadcast your SSID. Although not a lot of people go this extra step for security, we're sure a few of you do and in this case, it appears you are out of luck.
We'll just chalk this up to a v1.0 release but boy, we are sure looking forward to how frequently and how significant these planned Microsoft OS updates are going to be for the platform.
P.S. We should also note that the OS is not RTM/Gold yet, so this and other features could still easily be added before release
4 years ago
Microsoft boasts voice control for future of Windows Phone 7; Kinect gestures coming?
It's not really news when Microsoft says they think their technology can take on or beat Android or the iPhone--it's the same PR spin you'd expect from any company that is about to enter some heavy competition. So it's a bit odd that this story is getting so much clout, but he were go...
Microsoft bought TellMe a few years ago (2007), it first showed up on the Samsung Intrepid and will now finally get robust integration with Windows Phone 7, as was recently demonstrated here in video.
Overall it's quite nice, but dare we say in its current form, hardly revolutionary. In fact, Android's voice control is leaps and bounds beyond what WP7 will be able to do when finally launched e.g. 'Edwin' is pretty ridiculous (see a YouTube demonstration and witness the power of this completely free app). 'Edwin' is so far ahead right now, we're not sure how TellMe is going to catch up, but hey, we're all for a good race.
Recently, TellMe and Windows Phone 7 were demoed and discussed at the SpeechTEK conference. There, MS boasted how TellMe is the largest speech-based natural language processing system in use today. But really, the big news is that Microsoft is planning to really leverage TellMe in Windows Phone 7, expanding its capabilities significantly...over time. For at launch, it will only do some basic things (dial contacts, launch apps and search Bing), but it will go "global" on the phone in the future, allowing widespread control of just about everything.
It's nice to see Microsoft taking voice-control seriously--after all, they did buy a whole company for the tech.
Finally, the last bit of juicy info was talking about Xbox and Kinect, which you can interpret how you want (to us, it sounds like these ideas, remember that rumor?):
"Speech is the core of NUI," he said. Part of the demonstration showed how Microsoft's Kinnect XBox technology could interpret hand gestures to trigger actions on the computer. This technology will be used in Microsoft products beyond the XBox, Bukshteyn said in a subsequent interview with IDG.
Let's hope it means what we think it means.
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