Belfiore

One area where it’s always difficult to please your audience is in regards to technology. Between hardware and software advancements you have a public who not only yearns but demands frequent updates for their devices. Some of it is rational and some of it resembles the tantrums of children. But somewhere in between, there is the truth.

Microsoft is in a precarious situation with Windows Phone as they have a lot of so-called 'chicken versus egg' problems to solve. For instance, they need more mainstream apps. But in order to get more apps, they have to have enough devices in user’s hands to convince developers to get on board with Windows Phone. But how can you convince people to buy your phone if you don’t have the apps (either real or perceived)?

With Windows Phone 8 build 10327 (GDR2), Microsoft is pushing out their second minor update for their new operating system this year (the first was GDR1 aka Portico). The concern for a lot of current users is GDR2 doesn’t really bring much to the table in terms of new features. Sure FM radio and an improved Xbox Music library are nice to have, but it’s far from the dozens of features people are demanding on Microsoft’s UserVoice forum.

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A vexing problem for those on Windows Phone 8 is that of space-filling ‘Other Storage’ found under Settings > Phone Storage. The problem is after a few days, weeks or months of usage, that mysterious area begins to fill up with “stuff” and users really have no recourse to getting it back.

While Nokia and other OEMs have introduced apps to delete Temporary Files, which for some does gain back significant space, it does not touch the other Other Storage problem for many.

Now, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore stated in a Tweet today that at least in GDR2 (OS build 10327), the problem has been addressed. But from our usage of the Lumia 1020, we’re not too sure users will still be satisfied.

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You may recall the media reporting that Microsoft was looking to purchase Nokia and then we covered well-respected Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, which detailed a rather bleak picture regarding Nokia. If that wasn't enough already, Nokia's board of directors were rumoured to have been summoned to Finland and Joe Belfiore was even seen wandering around Nokia's campus while on vacation. 

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It was just a few days ago where an MSDN forum thread prompted a response from Mark Chamberlain, Microsoft Principal Developer Support Escalation regarding the Windows Phone 7.8 Tile issue. The problem stems from some Live Tiles not getting updated or using too much data, neither of which are viable options for must users and is one heck of a bug to slip.

Last night, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore, who leads the Windows Phone Team, even acknowledged the issue on Twitter. Responding to a question about static tiles, Belfiore noted that “We identified a minor issue where some 7.8 tiles stop updating and we are working on a fix now”.

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We’re not one to delve too deep into the various Wi-Fi security profiles out there. For one, we’re speaking out of league and can’t offer pros/cons to each one and two, it’s just not something we hear a lot of from our readers. But there are a few of you out there and for them, certain protocols like EAP-TLS is important.

The good news is that Microsoft is conscious of the need for EAP-TLS for Wi-Fi security (especially important for enterprise) and it looks like it will come to Windows Phone at some point, but it’s not high on their priority list...

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If there's one area where have heard a lot of complaints on it's the WiFi function on Windows Phone.

The problem is a bit niche but it has frustrated quite a few of you ever since 2010. That "problem" is when the phone goes to the Lock screen, WiFi automatically disconnects. Obviously Microsoft had good intentions in mind here with power-saving as the chief concern. But recently, evidence and personal anecdotes seem to betray the idea that turning off WiFi (when not in use) saves battery.

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Microsoft already told you WP8 supports USB mass storage

When it comes to Windows Phone 8, there is much more information coming than has been revealed—Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore stresses this at the beginning of the WP Summit a few weeks ago. However, there are things we do know--either things we’ve leaked are or the more direct method like what Microsoft announced during the Summit.

A “rumor” going around today is that Windows Phone 8 supports “USB Mass Storage” i.e. the ability to plug your phone into your computer to transfer files.

Folks, this isn’t a rumor nor is it news. For one, we can tell you 100% that this is the case as Microsoft spoke about this on and off the record with us and a few other news outlets pre-Summit. Second, you can just watch it for yourself when Joe Belfiore briefly discusses this feature at the 14 minute mark in the Summit video:

“We introducing removal micro SD support as a core part of the platform and this core micro SD card support spans both the PC and the phone. The scenarios are both valuable to consumers but also to developers and even hardware vendors.

What this enables that’s different than what Windows Phone 7.5 has today is that an end user can add a micro SD card months after they buy the phone expanding their storage and then they can use it to transfer contents between their PC to their phone, from phone to phone, it can be used a distribution vehicle for apps and it supports all of things in a very natural, integrated way in the Metro experience.

We didn’t want to deliver this feature until we could do it in a way that would be easy to use, predictable and high performant [sic] and we think we’ve got that nailed in Windows Phone 8”

We admit that this announced feature didn’t include a big, splashy graphic but this technically isn’t a rumor and Belfiore is telling you nearly all you need to know about this upcoming ability to Windows Phone 8. Regarding the other half of the rumor today--that Microsoft getting rid of the Zune Desktop client and allowing native syncing with Windows--this too is old information as it was reported in February and should be obvious by now. If it's not, consider this your confirmation. 

And let’s be clear: this mass storage support gives you a PC mountable experience for the micro SD but not access to the phone’s internal memory for security reasons. But the ability to add media, files, etc. via a presumably drag-n-drop method for expandable storage is what many people have wanted for a long time and it makes sense. So there is nothing to see here but hey, if this is news to you, then we're glad we made you a bit more happy for Windows Phone 8 this fall.

See the video of the Summit cued up after the break...

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WPCentral was lucky enough today to sit down with Nokia's senior vice president, Windows Phone program management Kevin Shields and Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President, Windows Phone program management.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the focus was on Nokia, the Lumia 900, re-entering the US market and anything else would could think to ask. Having said that, sorry folks, no new feature announcements were revealed about the Windows Phone OS as both gentlemen outsmarted our attempts. (We're betting on Mobile World Congress next month for more info on "Tango").

The interview, all 25 minutes of it, can be seen above and we think it is quite interesting, especially as we ask about what are Microsoft's and Nokia's biggest challenges in the US, how did the Lumia 900 come to be (including the design process), what should we expect from the LTE experience and more.  Clearly Microsoft is expecting Windows 8 to add another "jolt" to Windows Phone in 2012 and we couldn't agree more.

In addition, we had some more hands-on time with the Lumia 900 and folks, we're really excited about this beauty as it is quite the Windows Phone. More on that later this week in our podcast.

A big thanks to Microsoft and Nokia for extending the opportunity for this interview and iMore's Rene Ritchie for assistance.

Edit: The last few minutes got cut off, so we have a new version coming up in a little bit.

Edit 2: New version uploaded with last 5 minutes.

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September 15th has come and gone with no noticeable movement on a Mango release. Last night, Microsoft's Joe Belfiore tweeted confirmation that it was just another rumor and they've (Microsoft) been saying "Fall". Even though there were several indicators pointing towards the 15th that something was suppose to happen, if it did, it wasn't publicly witnessed.

Belfiore has since tweeted a link to a website (Apples 4 the teacher) that shows when Fall starts (September 23rd). Take it for what it's worth. It could mean a release date, it could mean the release won't happen before the 23rd, or it could be Belfiore driving us all nuts.

The only thing we know for certain is that Mango is really nice, it exists and it will get to everyone eventually. We still are seeing indicators that make us believe Mango's release (in some shape form or fashion) is close and if we have to wait until the 23rd or there after, that's not too long of a wait.

In the meantime, we'll keep an eye out for more bread crumbs from Joe, Brandon and all the other sources and tips we run across and pass it on to you guys to digest. September 23rd is seven days away and we'll know soon enough if it has any meaning beyond the calendar beginning of Fall and a reminder of all those leaves we'll have to rake up in the coming weeks.

source: @joebelfiore thanks goes out to Kenrick for tipping us on this!

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Microsoft "Flattered" by Apple

Joe Belfiore posted another interesting pair of tweets late yesterday, reminding people that quite a few of the features that Apple is including in iOS 5 are already available or announced in Microsoft Products, either Windows Phone 7 or Windows 8. He tweeted one yesterday, mentioning just the camera button.

Today, he took it a bit further, and listed off several items that Apple has seemingly taken from Windows phone 7, or Windows 8. In Apple’s defense, the Windows 8 thumb keyboard was announced last week, but the rest… You can decide.

Slide on past the break to see how the similarities break down.

Source: WinRumors

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Last year, Microsoft’s MIX conference offered the first real glimpse of what Windows Phone 7 was to offer. This year’s event will be a source of information on the major functionality coming in the Mango update. For those interested, Microsoft has announced their speaker lineup. Keynote speakers will include Joe Belfiore and Scott Guthrie of the Windows Phone team and .Net development respectively. Also of note will be a keynote featuring Dean Hachamovitch of the Internet Explorer team.

Conference sessions will include topics on everything from XNA to Application design to overviews of the various development tools.

Source: MIX11 (Keynotes and Windows Phone Sessions)

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The Microsoft keynote at Mobile World Congress definitely didn’t disappoint those of us that have been hungry for more details on the direction of our platform of choice.

One of the main things that Windows Phone 7 has gotten knocked for is the lack of multitasking for third party applications. The big news of the day is that Microsoft has committed to deliver multitasking support for Windows Phone 7 during the 2011 calendar year.

During the keynote, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore demonstrated how multitasking would work. Part of the multitasking interface is seamless. If you navigate away from an application and come back, the application will not only pick up where it left off, but it will do it quickly and efficiently. Belfiore also demonstrated an early view of the task switcher for Windows Phone. Pressing and holding the back button launches the UI (which looks like a poor man’s version of the WebOS card-based interface). We did not see a demo of killing apps.

One of the best things about multitasking for a lot of people is what this means for third-party music apps like Last.fm or Slacker Radio. During the demo we saw Slacker Radio playing in the background while reading email and otherwise using the phone in a normal manner. Additionally, it appears that third-party music apps can be controlled using the playback controls which appear at the top of the screen when the volume buttons are pressed.

All-in-all, this looks to be a big year for Windows Phone 7. Any thoughts on multitasking for Windows Phone? Is this a key feature for you? Talk it up in the comments section!

Update: Hi all, Dieter Bohn here. Tim has broken it down pretty darn well above based on what Microsoft presented today. On top that that, we have a few more details on how multitasking will work on Windows Phone 7 - join us after the break!

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We all remember that now famous interview with Joe Belfiore at the "D: Dive into Mobile" a few weeks ago, most notoriously because when pressured, Belfiore would not reveal any sales numbers (they later reneged). While some members of the elite press were allowed to attend, us plebeians had to settle for 2nd hand reporting, not being able to see the whole thing.

Now, All Things D has posted the entire video for your holiday viewing pleasure. So why not grab your morning coffee, hopefully your new Windows Phone and curl up to your square-headed family member for an early tech nerd out? Length 36mins.

Oh and try to rage too hard at ol' Mossy. (Although we're sending him the bill for our destroyed monitor)

Source: All Things D

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Two high profile Microsoft figures, Joe Belfiore and Charlie Kindel, director of the Windows Phone program and GM of the Windows Phone 7 Developer group respectively, were recent guests of two separate tech events. They were there of course to discuss Windows Phone 7, the smartphone market and the challenges that Microsoft is facing in relation to their competitors.

The big news, for some at least, is that when both were asked about early sales numbers and both refused to provide any details. At D: Dive Into Mobile conference in San Francisco, Belfiore said it was "too early" to talk numbers, whereas Kindel, in Paris at Le Web 2010, only mentioned that they planned to "sell a lot" in 2011.

Many are taking this evasive posturing as signs that Microsoft's sales numbers are either lower than expected or simply not worth talking about--after all, anything less than yhe oft cited 200,00+ daily activations of iPhones and Android devices will be seen as a failure. It seems to us that what bothers many in the media about Microsoft's position is not so much the possible sales (or lack thereof) but the denial of a sensational story for the media (a narrative that could only hurt their image). Yet even then, we still have to mention it.

Microsoft's position, for many, is bewildering only for their lack of self aggrandizement--they know they are the underdog here and while they are proud of their OS they know that this will be a multi-year challenge, not an overnight success. That sort of realism should be respected, but in this day and age of tech cynicism, it is met mostly with surprise. Fact is we, nor Microsoft, expect Windows Phone 7 to post any real significant market numbers till at least the end of 2011, giving them a 12 month window to get their OS recognized. We think that since currently only 20% of mobile phone sales are smartphones (Gartner, 2010), they have time and room for maneuvering. While not exciting, that's the reality.

Source: D: Dive Into Mobile, Le Web 2010 (U-Stream)

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Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore was interviewed today at the D: Dive into Mobile Conference by Walt Mossberg (of Mosspuppet fame) regarding Windows Phone and Microsoft’s renewed foray into the smart-phone market. There isn’t much new information to be gleaned; confirmation of the early 2011 update to include copy and paste, the Marketplace reaching 3000+ apps, Walt stating that Windows Phone 7 doesn’t compare with iOS and Android (like I said, nothing new).

What IS intriguing is Belfiore’s response to Mossberg’s questions about Microsoft’s tablet strategy, namely the fact that Microsoft is pushing Windows 7 (a desktop platform) as it’s tablet OS; whereas Apple, Google, and even RIM (Blackberry) are all using touch-based platforms for their tablets.

Walt: But why not just scale up WP7? You have a modern touch based interface. Why isn’t that your tablet platform?

Joe: We’re 4 weeks out of introducing this new thing. We’ve tried to help our partners do a great job. Forward looking, we’re going to focus on what our customers want most.

Four weeks (tomorrow) would be the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where a certain Steve Ballmer will be giving the opening keynote. Last year at CES was when Ballmer announced the "Slate" form factor, which hasn’t moved ahead much in the past year. Could Microsoft be readying a tablet based branch of the Windows Phone 7 OS? I’ve got my fingers crossed, how about you?

Source: Engadget

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