IE9

Browsing Bild.de can be hazardous to Tango's health

With Windows Phone Tango rolling out it is perhaps not a surprise that some isolated bugs may be discovered along the way. So far, not too many have cropped up but there is one that is interesting though seemingly rare.

Users have found that navigating to the German news site Bild.de on their phone, with “Desktop” enabled can result in the browser locking up the device. The site Bild.de does default to a mobile WAP version and there is a Windows Phone app too but users are free to use their IE9 in desktop mode to view the site “as is”.

We’ve tested the scenario on our Tango phone (Focus 2) and sure enough, upon loading the page the second time it does lock up the device. Since Internet Explorer is a native app, native apps can crash the OS whereas third-party apps should not be able to do so.

The theory seems to revolve around the idea that Bild.de is very graphic intensive with a lot of photos being pushed to the browser. Combined with Tango's low-overhead for 256MB devices and it seems to zap all of the available memory on the phone (of course we can’t rule out javascript errors or something else, either). You can replicate the crash yourself by following these directions:

  • Turn “Desktop” mode on in the browser
  • Navigate to Bild.de, it may load just fine
  • Navigate to another site then go back to Bild.de
  • Browser should crash when loading

The resulting crash means you would have to pull the battery (or hold the power button for 10 seconds) to reboot the phone. We tried this on a Windows Phone Mango device (HTC Titan) and could not replicate the crash. We also had no issues with a Galaxy Nexus with Android 4.1 meaning this most certainly seems correlated with Windows Phone “Tango”.

Is it a dire bug? Certainly not but it could be used as a browser-exploit by some nefarious people out there, even though that seems remote to us. Still, hopefully Microsoft will see this and patch it up for their next OS build.

Update: To make things even more confusing, it's not all devices. Our Lumia 900 with Tango is okay, but reports at XDA of the Radar, Omnia 7, Lumia 800 and our Focus 2 do have the crash.

Source: XDA; Thanks DerAusgewanderte, for the tip

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Dialing numbers listed on websites is supposed to be an easy task on Windows Phone. The OS basically highlights the numbers (like a hyperlink) and when you tap them, you get the standard "Edit phone number" screen and the option to call said number. The system is based on detecting sets of 7,10 or 11 numbers with their appropriate hyphens, periods, etc.

Interestingly, some folks at XDA have discovered that this seemingly only works for US devices. More specifically, devices who's 'Region format' settings under 'Region + language' are set for English (United States). Even folks in Canada evidently have this issue which is odd, to say the least.

We tried the list of numbers found in this post at XDA with our US region settings and they all worked fine except for the last number--just as expected. When we switched to Estonia (and rebooted) those numbers were now un-clickable just as others are reporting.

We're hesitant to call this a 'bug' because for all we know Microsoft did this on purpose for some strange reason. Still, if you want this function, you can head to Settings --> Region + Language --> Region Format and change that to English (United States) to get it to work for now as a workaround. And Microsoft, if this isn't on purpose then you may want to fix it for future updates, kthxbai!  As noted in comments, this is actually advertised as a US-only feature by Microsoft so if you want it, you'll have to use the above trick to get it.

Source: XDA; Thanks, James, for the tip!

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It's been awhile since we've seen a contender for a browser-wrapper on Windows Phone. Here we mean an app that uses Internet Explorer 9 as the base but augments its functions. Metro Browser (no ties to the earlier Metro Browser) is a true full screen web browser with advanced video playback capabilities.:

"Metro Browser has custom made video decoders specifically build for Windows Phone with optimal performance for real-time streaming flash video. Due to the efficient design it is possible to even stream on 3G.

Metro Browser is optimized to handle large video files without the need for any free storage on the device, all streaming happens directly from the memory."

Indeed, as the photo above demonstrates, it is full screen and looks amazing on an HTC Titan. Video sites supported include MegaVideo, VideoZer, VideoBB and of course YouTube. Playback isn't perfect and the browser is a bit limited on version 1.0 but overall, it's a solid entry that we welcome with open arms.

The app fetches for $1.99 with a free trial, which translates into an ad-supported version here in the Marketplace. We think it's pretty cool, but it's crazy late here so we'll save the hands on for the morning Meanwhile, you give us your feedback in comments. Thanks, Binaer Jongleur, for the tip!

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Here's a neat little trick. If you have Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 9 installed, you can browse over to WindowsPhone.com and pin that site to your Taskbar for quick access. Simply drag-n-drop the icon in the address field to your Task Bar and you'll have a quick shortcut right to the new Web Marketplace. What's even cooler though is the built in jump-list that you get by right-clicking that shortcut. In short, it'll bring up the site's various sub-sections, like Marketplace, My Phone, How To, etc. for super quick access.

Neat-o.

via: Windows Phone Daily

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T-Mobile, for some reason (we bet they signed something), evidently insists on making Google the default search engine for their phones, including the HTC HD7. It's sort of annoying for many because Bing is actually really good at what it does.

In the Mango update for the HD7 for T-Mobile (in the US at least), users have an extra option under the IE9 settings--basically they get to choose Google as default or switch to Bing, which is migh-tee nice of them, no? Of course, you're probably wondering why the rest of us don't have that option to go in reverse, right? Yeah, we don't know either.

But at least for T-Mo users, feel free to switch back to Bing now and take a shower to wash the ick off. Thanks, Prakash G., for the tip and photo!

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Reasoning with changes in Mango IE9

The above chart certainly paints an interesting picture about usage within IE on Windows Phone. Back at MIX'11 when we managed to get a demonstration by Joe Marini of IE9, the excitement began of a chrome-less browsing experience. Moving onto later previews and in-depth looks at what's changed in the browser, many began to question the move to take away the status bar and hide the tabs and featured sites. One of the major complaints about the new IE on Windows Phone though is the missing "Find on Page" feature.

Amin Lakhani has published an insightful article over at the Windows Phone Developer blog, which runs us through the reasoning behind the changes that have been made. Looking back at the chart above, it's clear to see that the majority of users neglect the tabs and favourites features in favour of the address bar (myself being one). It's all about gaining as much screen as possible from chrome and using it for content display, to tie in with the whole concept of Metro, Microsoft has actually done this rather well.

Not everyone is going to agree with changes made as not everyone uses the web in the same way. A user may see IE9 on Windows Phone as a tool for light browsing, should he wish to have multiple tabs active at once he may favour a laptop, desktop or tablet. It's good to disagree with the approach taken, but without an alternative there's little anyone can do. One thing's for sure, it's depressing to see the team boast about having HTML5 with Youtube. Surely we should only rejoice when the monopolistic search engine giant agrees to allow Microsoft to pull down Youtube content via the app?

Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog

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While Microsoft's YouTube app leaves much to be desired (granted, it's not their fault), it seems light is at the end of the tunnel for fans of the video sharing website with HTML5. As IE9 in Mango will be making short work of HTML5 we were hoping that Google would make the mobile version of their media community portal open to Windows Phone Mango.

Alas, it seems as though we've conquered video playback via IE9 in Mango, thanks to Google. This is a massive improvement over what was available to WP7 users. A sleeker interface is present with playlist access, commenting and more. It's still not a full-featured app with account management and more, but hey it's something. Don't forget Lazyworm.

Source: Plaffo (Bing Translate)

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Yes, for some reason Microsoft in their wisdom of refining and streamlining IE9 in Windows Phone Mango, removed the "Find on Page" feature aka the ability to find text loaded on the HTML page you were viewing. Obviously this feature is quite useful, especially when trying to locate pertinent information on a lengthy and wordy site.

The good news is Microsoft has heard the complaints, of which we've heard quite a few too, and they do plan to bring back this lil' feature that could. Knowing that IE9 is technically upgradable independently of the OS, Microsoft could theoretically push it out along with some other IE9-updates if they wanted to, but to be honest, we're not holding our breath. Instead, this looks like we'll have to wait six months for "Tango" to hit in order to bring this back. Kind of a shame and hopefully Microsoft won't forget to brink this back.

Source: Windows Team Blog; via WMPU

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Browser wars are always fun. Not because they are definitive or slam dunk tests that once and for all decide which is the best browser, but because they induce so much chest thumping about standards, specs and specific environments for testing. It's like saying your football team is the best--sure it may or may not be true, but sometimes it's fun to throw the war paint on and act like it is.

In this case, Derek Snyder of Microsoft demonstrates once again the famous "HTML5 fish test" (see MIX 11), comparing it between a BlackBerry, Samsung Android Charge and an iPhone 4. And once again, Windows Phone Mango clearly beats everyone, coming in at an astounding 50 FPS. But what makes this test more interesting is the fact that the iPhone 4 is running the iOS5 beta 3 (just released) which puts Apple's "fall update" up against Microsoft's "fall update", making it a more realistic comparison.

Your move, Apple. 

Source: WMPU

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Remember a while back where we were rejoicing and taking smugness to a whole new level with IE9's hardware acceleration putting it in another dimension compared to other platforms in a HTML5 speed test? Well, it seems Apple have grown tired in copying Windows Phone 7 in terms of features to play catch up while ahead and have instead focused on toughening up their mobile web browser - Safari.

In the tests ran at MIX earlier this year, Windows Phone 7 achieved an FPS (frames per second) count of 25, compared to Android's 11 and 2 with iOS4. We are now seeing with iOS5 a significant improvement of around 28 FPS, which is great for Microsoft and developers for Windows when you think about the long-term potential impact. Apple hates Flash, Microsoft is adopting HTML5 and continued development into this technology from both sides to increase functionality and speed of both computers and mobile devices can only mean a healthier system and experience for developers end-users.

Although iOS may have the upper hand thus far, we must remember that WP7's benchmark was ran at MIX, let's see how IE9 runs at release later this year (it seemed pretty snappy in our Mango preview video).

There's two videos after the break, one of iOS 5 Safari in action (speed test) and the other of IE9 in the Mango preview (general use).

 Via: WinRumors

UPDATE: More data is coming in on this issue and it appears our first conclusion might have been premature. After running roughly 30 tests to determine the frames per second of IE9 (running on Mango), thenextweb has determined that IE9 runs no slower than 25fps and as high as 45fps. We'll keep an eye on things to see how all this shakes out.  If these numbers hold true, IE9 will easily be able to hold its own against iOS.

Thanks goes out to Babse and Brianna for tipping us on the updated info!

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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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Look at that, we tracked down Microsoft's Joe Marini here at MIX11. He's in charge of IE on Windows Phone and as a result, has the latest build of IE9 running on his phone.

He gave us a few mins of demonstration and that browser sure looks nice (see it kick other browser's butts here). No word on Silverlight/Flash yet for IE9 and same with plugins/addons, but at this point we'll be quite satisifed with just this base for our browsing needs. We also dig the "Metro styled" menus now--looks much better.

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During today's Microsoft keynote at MIX11, a phone browser speed test was given and for once, Windows Phone (Mango + IE9) trounced the competition. The competition here was the iPhone 4 and Nexus S. 

Is it us or has Microsoft really thrown their weight behind browsers lately? IE9 on Windows Phone 7.5 looks pretty incredible and to put this persepctive, Android Central's Phil Nickinson says he doesn't know how that got the Nexus S to be that fast in the above video--which means MS wasn't playing trickery here. 

Of course we're interested in seeing more than one site load and the devil's in the details. But hey, we like what we see.

via: GeekWire

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Las Vegas, April 12th

Microsoft today announced the Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview for deveopers, which can be downloaded from http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/, where code will be refreshed every 12 weeks.  The new platform will "push the boundaries of what developers can do on the web even further" and includes "support for additional standards, such as CSS3 Gradients on background images and CSS3 Flexible Box Layout"

Additonal partnerships and demos, including Foursquare were showed off as well as Namco which can be viewed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/events/mix.  No word on Windows Phone support for IE10, though presumably it may come with "Windows Phone 8" sometime in 2012.

Update: IE Blog has much, much more info on IE10 which can be found here.

Developing...

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MIX'11 Keynote covering IE9 and WP7

Dean Hachamovitch, Windows Internet Explorer Corporate Vice President, is keynoter tomorrow and after eight platform previews, one beta, one release candidate and one final version of IE9 it's going to be a must-see.

As well as the above, Joe Belfiore, who oversees Windows Phone Program Management, and is responsible for the design and software product definition will also keynote MIX. He will be accompanied by Scott Guthrie, who is head of Microsoft's .NET Developer Platform and manages the teams who are responsible for Silverlight, Visual Studio and .NET framework technologies.

If nothing else, it's going to be huge and we're going to be right there amid the presentations. We'll be following up this post soon with coverage and discussion to allow your opinions to be voiced.  The Keynote is slated to start at 9am PST on Tuesday and you can check the full MIX11 schedule here.

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Why you should care about IE9 on WP7

At Mobile Word Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore gave a demonstration of some of the new features coming to Windows Phone 7 in an update to come later this year. The touted features include multitasking, which is for some the Holy Grail of mobile platforms. Somewhat overshadowed by the multitasking features was the demonstration of Internet Explorer 9 for Windows Phone, which is to include many of the features of its desktop counterpart.

The real issue for some WPCentral readers is why they should care about Internet Explorer on Windows Phone? IE has long been the whipping boy among browsers, at least from a PC enthusiast’s standpoint. Lambasted for its lack of security and standards support, Internet Explorer has been losing market share to Google Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox.

Follow the break to learn why Internet Explorer 9 is the single biggest feature coming to Windows Phone 7 in 2011, at least in this writers estimation.

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Find Joe, get a look at IE9 Mobile

Microsoft is set to launch Internet Explorer 9 tonight with a big bash at SxSW.  According to a Tweet by Joe Marini, Windows Phone Web Platform Program Manager, you can at least get a glimpse of the mobile version as well.  He will be packing a WP7 phone sporting the new browser and invites attendees to check it out.

Though it is widely thought that the new browser will be rolled out as part of the highly-anticipated Mango update, we could see it much sooner.  For more detailed info on what to expect from IE9from Marini himself, check out our previous coverage.

Source: Joe Marini; Via: Liveside

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Wednesday at the Mobile World Congress, Microsoft held a developers day seminar that covered some old ground, but also lots of new stuff as well. One of the talks was presented by Microsoft's Joe Marini, Principal Program Manager, Windows Phone and it dealt with IE9 on Windows Phone.

IE9 was just introduced as an upcoming feature for Windows Phone, presumably in the 'Mango' update. While some of it was discussed during Ballmer's keynote, the nitty-gritty was given to Marini, who gave an excellent talk on all things IE9 and IE9 for Windows Phone.

The question about Adobe Flash was of course asked and so far, it doesn't sound like anything is close to being released:

So the questions is, are we going to support Flash in IE9 for Windows Phone

We are working with Adobe, but it has not yet been decided the last time I checked--part of that is Adobe is doing what they have to do and we're doing what we have to do. The last I checked the team is working with them but I don't think they have any announcement whether it's going to definitely work or not.

We also asked Marini about updating IE9 independently of the OS--something that was mentioned nearly a year ago, specifically does this feature exist/will Microsoft be using it? The good news is that the feature is still there:

One of the great things of Windows Phone 7 is we now have the ability to push out updates independently of the OS. We haven't announced what that schedule is going to be, but as we get closer to the release date they'll have more to say about that, but we're paying very close attention as to the best way to do that

Finally, the big stuff. After the break you can watch two excellent videos: (1) A seven-minute presentation on IE9 for Windows Phone 7 including all the standards, support and design implementation--a must for developers (2) A short demo of some HTML5 rendering on a live Windows Phone running IE9...

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While many didn't expect much from Microsoft's Keynote Address at the 2011 Mobile World Congress, Steve Ballmer and company did find a way to surprise us. While the first part of the presentation was a re-cap of the progress Windows Phone 7 has made, the Microsoft CEO also touched on how well the new phones are being recieved by consumers. Nine out of ten Windows Phone users would recommend the phones to other and many feel that Windows Phone 7 is the easiest and most delightful to use.

Building phones that people love and that are operator friendly is the top priority at Microsoft. Ballmer also mentioned that the first update for Windows Phone 7 is only a few weeks away, being release in March and will include the copy/paste feature and overall performance enhancements. No surprises there.

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One area that is crucial for Microsoft's success with Windows Phone 7 is in the browser. As the iPhone has demonstrated and Opera fans know, if you have a good browsing experience, you'll have a dedicated following.

Mobile IE has never really been great and while it's better on WP7 e.g. containing

...four-point multitouch fully enabled, zooming in and out by a pinching finger gesture on the screen, so-called "deep zoom" for extreme, high fidelity closeups, a remarkably clear typography, and very smooth, fast operation

...well, it doesn't inspire that much confidence. In fact, with greater enthusiasm for the desktop IE9, the mobile version (based on IE7, little bit of 8) seems like last-year's technology (and that's being generous).

Luckily, Microsoft may have a trick up their sleeves. It was revealed in the comments on the Mobile IE Team blog that the browser can be independently updated of the whole OS i.e.firmware.

Q:Will the browser in Windows 7 get more updates more frequently than only with full firmware updates?

Hi Tom,

Yes, we are building in the ability to update the browser independently of firmware.

-joe

While we knew OTA updates for the OS were a big deal, selectively upgrading just the browser can give Microsoft more flexibility in getting Mobile IE current. Of course that doesn't guarantee that those updates will give us a killer browser, but hey...options are good.

[via MobileTechWorld]

 

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