Microsoft's KIN phones have risen from the dead and are once again available through Verizon Wireless. Verizon is listing them under their Feature Phone category with a slight name change. The KIN ONEm is the smaller, bottom slide-out keyboard model and the KIN TWOm is the larger, side slide-out keyboard model.
The KIN ONEm is priced at $19.99 with contractual discounts and the KIN TWOm is priced at $49.99 with the discounts. Either phone will require a voice package of at least $39.99 and it doesn't appear a data package is required (as it was for the previous release). There is no indication as to what the "m" designation is in reference to. "Much Cheaper" maybe?
I'm not sure how attractive the KIN will be without data but maybe Verizon will have some success this go around by not treating the KIN as a feature phone as opposed to a smartphone.
Here's an interesting alternative to Microsoft's Office and Sharepoint ecosystem: Socialwok. It's advertised as the "social layer for Google Apps", almost like Google Wave but better thought out. In short, you can share, edit and collaborate on Google Presentation, Google Spreadsheet, Google Doc, post messages, photos, emails and files with your co-workers or collaborators.
We loaded up the free app for quick tour and it's pretty straightforward: login in to your Google account, give Google permission to allow Socialwok access and that's it. Seems like a quick, painless solution for those who need to do this kind of work--in fact we may give it a shot here at WPCentral for a week to see if it helps us out.
Grab it in the Marketplace now. If anyone has experience with this service, hit us up in comments, because we're curious.
Although we just showed you how to use your phone as a USB drive, which is excellent for copying media or just carrying files between computers you sync with, one downside was it wouldn't work for Office files (docs, PowerPoint, Excel) or PDFs.
Luckily, over at Marauderz Stuff, they figured it out: they created a simple webserver program for your local network. The idea is you download and install this mini-app to your PC, run it and then via Wi-Fi, you can connect your phone up to your PC. Since Mobile Internet Explorer allows downloading of documents, that's all this is doing: creating a local web page where you can list files to transfer easily.
It's almost too simple.
The author even includes a walk-through video (after the jump, along with directions) to show you how it works and how it looks. Seems like the Windows Phone community is rocking pretty hard these days, solving quite a few "issues" with ease.
Entering week two of Windows Phone 7 and we're moving right along with those hacks and tweaks. First was USB tethering (here & here), now we have USB drive support via MobilTechWorld, something we thought wasn't supported. Well, it's not. Officially.
The good news is that this is an easy hack to do. The bad news is it's computer specific, meaning you can't just use your WP7 device as a universal USB drive on any computer, just the one that you modify and sync with. But hey, it's a start.
The trick is quite easy and will take you less than 5 minutes to do, so it's well worth it, even if just to try.
Another enterprise tool hit Microsoft’s portfolio today as they launched their Lync 2010 platform. An updated take on their Office Communication Server, Lync provides everything from chat services (text, voice, video) to enterprise level VOIP services. The really cool thing about Lync is that it integrates with Microsoft’s other enterprise level products like SharePoint, Active Directory, and Exchange Server, giving an unprecedented level of coordination between all forms of communication.
Microsoft would probably hate this comparison, but Lync offers a lot of the same functionality as Google Voice; except on an enterprise level. Voice mail transcription and simultaneously ringing multiple phones are both features that are shared between the two products.
The best news for us is that Microsoft fully intends to tie the services offered by Lync into Windows Phone 7. As an IT geek and a Windows Phone lover, the possibilities running through my head are exciting. As a consumer, I'm really hoping that Microsoft brings some of these technologies to the Windows Live side of the house.
You may remember that we're giving away subscriptions to the popular Slacker Radio service. What you may not remember is the contest ends tomorrow night (7:00pm CST on Thursday, November 18). If you haven't already, head on over to the WPCentral forums and let us know what you want to see from Microsoft in the first update for Windows Phone 7.
The promise of Xbox Live integration was cause for a lot of buzz surrounding the launch of Windows Phone 7. Many people (myself included) were looking forward to the graphically intensive games that a platform like Xbox brings to the table. Microsoft’s effort to make game creation a no-brainer for developers has brought us a variety of titles, including one of my favorites, de Blob.
Yes, it’s a game whose primary characters are blobs of ink; fortunately for us, the quality of de Blob isn’t based on the story line. Read on for the full review.
With the jump from Windows Mobile to Windows Phone 7, the access to music and video became less of an afterthought. Just the inclusion of the Zune Music and Video hub made all the difference in the world. Add to that support for Zune Pass and the efforts that Microsoft made to get developers and services interested and Windows Phone 7 is already in the top two mobile platforms for music.
Slacker Radio is one of those music services that set the standard for streaming radio. The service offers a free and a premium service for $4.99 per month (or $3.99 per month billed annually at $47.88). But how does that Slacker Radio app work? Does the app hold up its end or does it make the service worthless on Windows Phone 7? Read on to find out.
High quality streaming audio; intuitive, consistent interface; extensive selection of stations
By Tim Ferrill, Wednesday, Nov 17, 2010 at 10:06 pm EST
They’re not billing it as a 4G network (like T-Mobile for example), but AT&T says that their network is now 80% HSPA+. For the acronym challenged, HSPA+ (or Evolved HSPA) increases the theoretical peak data rate from HSPA’s 14 Mbit/s to 56 Mbit/s (per Wikipedia).
The caveat here is that AT&T doesn’t currently have any phones that support the speeds that would benefit from HSPA+, and the only phones on T-Mobile run Android. But still, network upgrades benefit everyone.
Persephonae Labs has released Anag7ams, a fast paced word puzzle game, for Windows Phone 7.
As described by the developer,
"anag7ams is available in five different difficulty modes, where players are tasked to find as many 3, 4, 5 & 6 letter words from a scrambled master word in an allotted time. As levels progress, players encounter the dreaded Challenge Mode, an all-or-nothing single six letter word to be unscrambled. Time Bonuses and score multipliers are just a few of the many unique features of anag7ams. With an over 10,000 word dictionary, hours of endless entertainment await the intrepid gamer."
Anag7ams is available over at the Marketplace for an introductory price of $.99 and after December 1, 2010 the price will increase to $2.99. The word puzzle game looks interesting and we'll get a full review up on the site in the coming days.
For the full press release from Persephonae Labs, just follow the break.
We’ll be reviewing both titles in the next several days, so keep an eye out for those. Both games are Xbox Live titles, so trial versions are available. Let us know your first impressions in the comments.
When people talk about smart-phone platforms, the two that stand out to people (for better or worse) are iPhone and Android. There are a lot of reasons for this; usability, ecosystem (apps, services), and just sheer popularity are all factors. It makes you wonder why a brand-spanking-new platform like Windows Phone 7 would get a popular app like NetFlix before one of the two 300 lb gorillas in the room (Android); and if you really think about it, the Windows Phone 7 app was demoed at the Mix conference (March 15-17) before it was available for the iPhone (August 26). So what is it about Windows Phone 7 that makes a company like NetFlix choose a fledgling OS as their starting point for mobile over the more established platforms?
It turns out that the answer comes down to security (ironic, considering this is Microsoft). According to Wired (via @joebelfiore), Android doesn’t offer a secure enough DRM system to make Hollywood happy. With all of the concerns about piracy digital rights, Microsoft has been able to get a leg up on the competition by building Windows Phone as a secure platform.
Now before I start getting hate mail from the Android faithful, I recognize that NetFlix is coming to Android; but the current plans are for limited device support (can you say fragmentation?); not a full-fledged roll out.
So what does this mean to Joe Consumer? Microsoft is making every effort to make app developers happy and successful with Windows Phone 7 as a platform. This will serve to help the Windows Phone ecosystem (apps and services) grow and mature; which is great news for you and me.
If you had any doubt that the Samsung Focus was well built, it has been our understanding that the Focus uses Gorilla glass for it's screen. This has now been confirmed by Samsung (via Twitter) that the screen is indeed Gorilla Glass.
What is Gorilla Glass? As the name implies, it's a thin, light-weight, durable glass that is as tough as a gorilla. As described by Corning,
"Gorilla Glass is an environmentally friendly alkali-aluminosilicate thin sheet glass designed specifically to function as a protective cover glass for high-end display devices such as notebook PCs, televisions and mobile phones."
Now this doesn't mean you can throw caution to the wind and drag your Focus across a bed of nails and not expect to see any scratches. It does mean that the Gorilla glass offers a little more scratch-resistance and durability than your average screen and quit possibly eliminates the need for screen protectors.
This past summer we reported that Skyfire would begin scaling back operations and development on Windows Mobile and Symbian products. While development stopped on this popular mobile web browser, the company continued to offer support for their products in select countries.
Skyfire has now announced a complete phase out of their Legacy 1.0 products for Windows Mobile and Symbian effective December 31, 2010. Skyfire products will no longer be available or supported for Windows Phones.
In the press release, Skyfire's CEO Jeff Glueck stated,
"We do expect to bring Skyfire 2.0 to additional platforms, and have begun discussions with some carriers and OEMs to decide which will be our next OS. Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 and Nokia’s MeeGo platform are both shaping up as platforms with a lot of potential and the recent launch of the new Blackberry OS 6 with a WebKit browser core makes for interesting potential for a future release of Skyfire 2.0."
While Skyfire will quickly become a thing of the past with Windows Mobile, we may see it as a part of Windows Phone 7 in the future.