hands-on

With Windows Phone 8.1 just days away from being announced, the floodgates are starting to open for leaks about Microsoft’s new major OS update. This morning, a new video originally found on YouKu, the popular Chinese video hosting service, and published by the site Coolxap, has been released.

The video, like many leaks, is of abysmal quality, and it was originally shot vertically. We managed to rip the video and reorient it, so it’s easier to watch. See it after the break...

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Earlier today, Microsoft surprised the Windows Phone community by not only announcing all the new features in GDR3, but by announcing the Developer Preview Program. That just announced program allows developers and enthusiasts to download the latest operating system updates from Microsoft. In fact it was just a few hours after those announcements that the Preview for Developers app went live allowing everyone to download GDR3, which Microsoft is calling Update 3. Let’s check it out those features in Update 3 for Windows Phone 8. 

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HTC 8X Windows Phone hands-on gallery

We've spent the past few days getting to know the HTC 8X -- sorry, Windows Phone 8X by HTC. In the process, we've snapped a wealth of high-quality photos of the high-end signature device for Windows Phone 8, including a few saucy close-ups.

If you want to know what HTC's leading Windows Phone 8 handset looks like from just about every angle, be sure to check out the couple-dozen photos after the break.

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A reimagined Skype client is on the way

Update: As we suspected this video was is no way sanctioned to be released publicly and as such, a copyright claim by AOL/Engadget has had it removed. Translation: this was suppose to be under wraps but was made public on accident.

Update 2: We found a second source of the video, catch it while you can

Skype for Windows Phone 8 has been demoed by Derrick Snyder, now head of mobile marketing at Skype. In the video, Snyder runs viewers through what we can all expect from the new client. Now, before we crack into what's shown in the video, it's worth noting that this is a brand new application for Windows Phone, though many of the new features have been covered before.

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Igneous Software, not content with making their excellent BBC Podcast Lounge are surely striving for greatness with their upcoming launch of the BBC Radio Player. We had previously reported on their plans but were finally able to get hands on demo of it at last night’s Windows Phone User Group (WPUG).

The new player will improve on the previous version in a number of ways. The UI has been updated to closely follow that of the official apps on other platforms. Igneous have taken great care to replicate the colours and visual cues from the iPlayer whilst taking advantage of Metro’s inherent slick delivery of typography and graphics.

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To say "Mango" for Windows Phone 7 is a large update is a bit of an understatement. It's massive. Although we have had two updates to our fledgling OS, both have been relatively minor. "Mango", however, is Microsoft's attempt to fill in all the gaps left from the v1.0 release last fall. Can it succeed?

We've been able to handle a preview release of "Mango" for the last few days and have put it through various tests, comparisons and the all important "just using it like a normal phone". Our device was the venerable Samsung Focus running Windows Phone 7.661.WP7_5_Trial (mojobld).20110607-1957, which means this is a relatively late build (June 7th) and as you can see, Microsoft seems to be going with "7.5" for this release.

How did it fair? What did we learn? Lets just say you won't be disappointed and yes, it's basically everything Microsoft has been touting it to be since February--no smoke and mirrors here. So hit on past the break for our hands on review, four videos, photos and more. Then you can hit us up in comments and we'll try our best to answer.

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HTC Mozart Hands-On [Video]

The HTC Mozart may not be coming to the US and honestly, that's a little sad. It's a well-designed, solid, capable, fast Windows Phone 7 device. The aluminum unibody design is not only quite fetching, but it adds a some strength and toughness. While the HTC Surround is nothing to sniff at, the extra thickness for that slide-out speaker seems like a poor choice compared to the elegance on display here. In all it looks to have a higher-quality feel than the Focus, the "black slab" from Samsung that is coming to the states.

The 480x800 WVGA screen sits under 3.7 inches of glass and looks pretty darn sharp. More impressive is the 8 megapixel camera with auto focus sitting next to a Xenon flash, capable of recording 720p video. We'll need to give it a full go-round, but our initial impression is that HTC could have stood to do a little more tweaking to the camera software to improve the shots we've tried.

It's all powered by a 1300 mAh battery and weights 4.6 ounces, with a thickness of .47". We'll bring you a full review soon, but in the meantime check out a quick video hands-on after the break along with a few more photos.

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Microsoft may not have gobs of  Windows Mobile 6.5 demo units out at MWC09, but that doesn't mean your intrepid friends at WMExperts weren't scouring the floor trying to find one.  Find one we did, at Texas Instruments' booth.  It's running on a development platform (the OMAP34x-II) they've created to help manufacturers use their new OMAP3430 processor.  We'll cover both our thoughts from our brief time with Windows Mobile 6.5 as well as some tidbits about this processor that ought to have Qualcomm and Broadcom a little nervous.

Go on and click the link for more.  Or else you could click the thumbnail above for the full size image of that beautiful, creepy, awesome Grey Crowned Crane.  It's mesmerizing, innit?

Oh, while you're staring: think about this.  That's a capacitive touchscreen you're staring at.  We know, we know, WM6.5 doesn't support it and you'll likely never see such a thing actually sold to consumers and frankly, there were times we couldn't hit the button we were aiming for (the fact that it was a huge 4" screen helped).  But it's there: Windows Mobile 6.5 on a capacitive touchscreen.

But you should read on now and pay attention, we're going to bring up HDMI.

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Our Members Go Hands-On with the Treo 800w

While both Palm and Sprint are staying mum about official release dates, that obviously doesn't mean there's silence on the internets about the device (duh, right?). True to form, various and sundry Sprint outlets are selling the thing early. It's not just Telesales like we told you earlier, though. Some enterprising users in our forums have managed to finagle the devices out of brick-and-mortar Sprint stores and therefore have the device in their hands now.

(Some might replace “enterprising” with “obsessed,” but given the scope of 800w coverage here at WMExperts, we definitely are not in a position to judge)

Go take a run-through our 800w Forums to get a feel for the device, though we'll give special shout-outs to a few users who have snapped pictures and starting dishing details on the 800w.

  • skfny makes with the photos (originally posted by TerrapinStation -- sorry I missed that, Terrapin!) -- a whole heaping helping of them, a small selection of which have graced the top of this post.
  • Darth Pooh (a friend of the show) says Rev A is quick, that messaging is the default on the left key. Lots more from this hero of the forums here.

Both skfny and Darth Pooh note how thin the 800w is (practically Sprint Touch Thin!), that the keyboard is superb and that we're looking at “72MB RAM free after soft reset, 150-160MB ROM.” But wait, there's more:

There's likely more that we missed (and humble apologies to any lucky user who has the 800w and is posting about it). The on-the-sly 800w talk is hopping, you want to go check it all out. Of course, you can expect a full WMExperts review of the device in all its Slate Blue Glory just as soon as we can.

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