memory

Remember the Name is a Windows Phone 8 app designed to help those who often remember a face but the name seems to escape them. The app taps into three social networks to create a memory game to help you remember who you know.

Granted for Remember the Name to help your put a name with a face your contacts have to be in one of these networks but the memory skills could carry over to those who aren't.

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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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This whole Skype-256MB RAM situation is getting a little chaotic. First we all ran the beta, then came version 1.0 and the app requirements which strongly hinted that Tango phones (Lumia 610, ZTE Orbit, etc.) can't run the program due to only having half the required RAM. Heck, even Skype commented to us on the matter that they're working on improving the Skype app, etc.

Now, Nokia are claiming after "some challenges early on" Skype works just fine on the Lumia 610 and it'll be available for users in late April when the device launches.

Of course, we kind of knew that already as our trusty Jay Bennett remembered that a Nokia employee by the name of Justin Angel guested on our podcast a few weeks ago. What was remarkable about his appearance was how he was speaking to us -- via Skype on his Lumia 610.

At the time that was the beta version of Skype and who knows what transpired since that day. And even though Engadget's story sheds some light on the matter, we're still unsure if this means there will be a special version of the Skype app in the Nokia Collection or that version 1.0 (as is) will run on all Tango phones, making the whole "512MB of RAM" requirement a moot and pointless number.

Yes folks, we now have more questions than answers. Hopefully we'll sort all of this out soon.

via: Engadget

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Yes, the big mystery that really wasn't a mystery has now ended. Even though the phone goes on sale tomorrow morning, many were still left wondering how much memory the Samsung Focus S would have on board.  Eight, sixteen, thirty-two gigabytes?

Well, as you can tell by the title of this post, the correct answer is: 16GB resulting in about 13.76GB of actual storage after the OS

The device also appears to be using Samsung's NAND memory and there doesn't seem to be a clear way to expand it. The benefit here is it will be very fast, faster than just a microSD card for memory. The downside is yes, 16GB is all you get. The info above comes direct from AT&T themselves via their support pages, so we can consider it quite legit and reliable.

We'll be honest: for our needs, 16GB is fine and we're totally okay with this. In fact, it's exactly what we expected. But we know some of you will be disappointed, while others will be grateful it wasn't 8GB like the HTC Radar (but we never believed it had that little anyways).

So what say you: Satisfied or upset? Let us know in comments!

Source: AT&T Page 1, Page 2, Page 3 Big thanks to Ryan for the great sleuthing in finding those links!

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Anyone who has small kids knows that they are fascinated by both phones and videogames. Handing off a phone to your child while in the car or at a restaurant can be a great way to keep the little one occupied. Indie developer Ganlok Studios has produced three fine kids’ games for Windows Phones: Mazoocard, Toy Xylophone, and Simon Cow. Each title offers clean, attractive graphics, simple gameplay, and a great user interface.

Head past the break for our full three-game review.

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The heat may be getting to Microsoft regarding the memory card issues that we've seen over the last few weeks. In an interview with TechRadar, Microsoft told them that they were

...now busily buying every microSD card they can get their hands on and testing it in their phones, and when they have a list of which cards perform well enough to recommend they'll be distributing the information.

That is certainly a 180 from previous positions and we think Microsoft gets it here: the cat is out of the bag and users will try to swap their cards, regardless of the dire warnings on internet blogs. Going into more detail, Microsoft's senior product manager Greg Sullivan described the issue more succinctly:

Yes, it's about read write speeds [which is what the SD class number indicates]. The IO rate is part of it but actually what's equally important are the bit error rates. That will impact the speed of the checksum rewrite.

On the one hand we feel bad Microsoft has to go through with all of this, but on the other, this was a situation clearly not well managed from the start. The reason given for the mishandling is an old one: time. Microsoft simply did not have enough time or resources to test all the cards before launch. At least it appears they are owning up to the matter now and we can look forward to a "recommend list" in the future.

Source: TechRadar

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The tale of expandable storage on Windows Phone 7 is certainly convoluted. We know that they take them, but we also know it's very finicky. When we met with Samsung on October 11th, they told us it wa a permanent change to the device and that once you insert that card, that's it, there's no going back. We wrote back then:

Basically you can any size card you like, but you can't remove it without hard-resetting the phone and it's not clear that the card would be re-usable if you do remove it. So essentially, if you add a 16GB or 32GB card, that's it, you got your shot.

Engadget recently confirmed this, noting that the cards were unusable and cannot even be reformatted. Going further, AT&T changed their tune saying don't add any memory to the Focus, not yet at least. The problem is waiting on specific cards that were "certified" to be used on our devices, cards that met certain performance standards.

Today, Samsung moved very quickly (1 week, not bad) to the controversy and said that Sandisk 8GB Class 2 cards will work on our devices. The bad news is that their support doesn't seem to know that the Focus only has 8GB on board, not 16GB. Going further, this sounds kind of iffy at best. While we don't doubt the 8GB Class 2 cards will work, the whole "officially certified" thing sounds like it is still weeks away from happening.

Hi, actually the Samsung Focus has a 16GB internal memory and expandable up to 32GB. So you can insert a 32GB micro SD card on this device. However there are certain limitations when it comes to the micro SD card. Compatible micro SD cards will be branded as “Windows Phone 7 Compatible” on the packaging. Approved cards can be obtained from the manufacturer or carrier. (The SanDisk 8GB class 2 micro SD card has been certified.) Many commercially available retail micro SD cards are not approved for use in Windows Phone 7. Use of unapproved cards may cause performance degradation or device instability, including unexpected reset and loss of user data. A micro SD card class is not an indication of meeting Windows Phone 7 requirements.

If you want data based on user feedback, MobilityDigest did a whole list of cards that supposedly work and don't work, which we reprint after the break.

Sources: Samsung Support, Engadget, MobileTechWorld, MobilityDigest

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We've known for sometime now that the Samsung Focus has an easily accessible microSD card slot. While Microsoft has been cautious, AT&T has voiced no opposition to using an expansion card and even Samsung points it out in the packaging material. But this expansion slot acts differently than what we are used to with Windows Phones.

Simply sliding in the microSD card into the expansion slot won't do the trick and apparently not all microSD cards will work.  If you are going to use microSD card, we highly recommend you install it early. The reason being is that in order for the Focus to recognize the extra memory, you have to perform a hard reset on the phone.

Read more after the break on changing your microSD card!

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As these new WP7 devices become more and more available, slight differences are starting to become evident. One of those differences appears to be load times for video games, with the Samsung clearly beating the HTC 7 Trophy out in a head-to-head.

Much speculation has been circulating that the reason for the difference is the memory: the Omnia 7 uses Samsung's NAND chips while HTC uses internal memory with expandable microSD, causing slower performance. While this was "theory" a few days ago, it appears now to be accurate and we agree with that this is the culprit (but are open to other ideas).

So that may be the trade off folks: expandable memory vs. faster speeds. Which do you prefer? It is worth noting for U.S. customers that the HD7, Samsung Focus and Surround all have microSD cards (and probably Dell Venue Pro), so there's really not much choice. Only the LG Optimus is unconfirmed for its memory configuration.

Source: YouTube; via wmpoweruser

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Someone had some extra time at XDA and went the extra mile, tearing down their Omnia 7 to its barest parts. Pretty amazing to see it all stripped down.

Unfortunately, it looks like Samsung opted for soldered NAND memory instead of an replaceable microSD card, meaning the Omnia 7 is stuck at just 8GB (or 16GB on some models) for eternity. Of course, this makes us wonder about the decision process in regards to memory and it being user-replaceable or not. It seems that if Samsung never wanted you to touch it, they would just use NAND, which we now know they have access to and no problem using.

Source: XDA; via Windows Phone Hacker

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Over at the::unwired.net, Arne Hess does a fine job of explaining the memory requirements of Windows Phone 7 and helps shed light on what is turning out to be a complicated issue (see our earlier coverage of the Samsung Focus & its SD card).

Turns out he was able to disassemble his (pre-production) HTC HD7 and replace the storage card after some finagling (he had a problem at first). He also explains how the memory works on WP7--basically it's not like a RAID system, but rather it concatonates the memory installed into as and reads it as one big drive. Removing a storage card requires a hard reset in order to get it working again.

Finally, he mentions that the reason for this SD card usage, instead of installed flash, is cost. OEMs can save money by using SD cards which are easy to upgrade and replace as opposed to onboard solutions which are more pricey and restrictive. Seems to make sense and even though it's confusing for us, we bet OEMs might like this for production purposes (remember how everything was 8GB then magically almost all WP7 devices went 16GB? Yeah, that...). It remains to be seen, however, if all WP7 devices use this method or not.

Source: the:unwired.net

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Removable storage & Windows Phone 7 [Samsung Focus]

Okay, lets get some of this confusing stuff out of the way: the Samsung Focus has "only" 8GB of storage available. In talking with Samsung, their position was basically so much of this phone is "cloud based" that 8GB may be sufficient for most people. However, they're more than glad to suggest that 16GB and higher are probably on the horizon.

Having said that, the Focus does have removal storage (see the above shot), but it's tricky. Basically you can any size card you like, but you can't remove it without hard-resetting the phone and it's not clear that the card would be re-usable if you do remove it. So essentially, if you add a 16GB or 32GB card, that's it, you got your shot. This has to do with how WP7 uses memory--basically it mirrors/spreads it across any added memory.

But hey, our EVO came with a 16GB card and we've never removed it either. Seems like once you go that huge (or larger), you have little need to keep swapping. So to us, this sounds like a win-win situation, at least for what we're working with here.

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CleanRAM Updated

The popular utility CleanRAM has been updated to version 2.3. The memory cleaning utility is a favorite for cooked and standard ROMs to free up valuable Windows Phone memory.

Along with a few performance tweaks that makes CleanRAM more stable, the new version includes:

  • Adds language strings: "Show Black Curtain", "Wisbar advance desktop" and "Infinity"
  • Support for Ageye Infinity GUI and Wisbar advance desktop cleaning
  • The option to drop a black curtain over your screen while the app cleans things up.

You can download your copy of CleanRAM v2.3 here or if you're already using CleanRAM, go to the CleanRAM configuration menu and tap "update".

via: pocketnow

 

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In a leaked document, evidently found by Tweakers.net, some more information has emerged on the internal design, some limitations and drivers in Windows Phone 7.

Most the information seems to work in favor of a stable, consistent and consumer friendly mobile OS, but one cannot deny the big role Microsoft is now playing in overseeing their new OS (though it's still much less than Apple's grip on the iPhone and iPad, but is that really saying much?).

Some things worth noting are the following:

  • Windows LiveID will be used to sync data services and enter the Marketplace, much like the current setup, so no real changes there
  • Carrier and OS upgrades will be handled, approved and distributed only by Microsoft via Over-the-Air (OTA) and/or Zune sync (desktop)
  • No changes to the home screen are allowed by OEMs or carriers (not news) but either can customize certain tiles, ring tones and wallpapers
  • Carriers can include their own software but with very strict requirements including being limited to six applications (at a total 60MB storage), no trial-ware (hurray!) and all apps must be approved by Microsoft
  • There is support for external storage cards, though it remains to be seen if they will be initially allowed on devices
  • Microsoft will supply the 2D graphics and DirectX 10-based Direct3D 11 runtimes (good); OEMs will develop and distribute the drivers for both the 2D and 3D graphics (bad?)
  • Support for Bluetooth 2.1 but not 3.0 (yet)
  • 480x320 support, though not fully endorsed? May be good for front-qwerty...

Other details related to the memory architecture, which is more or less interesting for programmers and the tech savy.  In short, it's a 32-bit OS with a dual layer architecture. The kernel and application processes are allowed 2GB of memory each and programs are allowed 1GB of virtual memory (up from a measly 32MB in WM6.x). The file systems are based IMGFS for system files, and TexFAT for user files, with the later being "...best suited for non-removable media, such as NAND and NOR flash memory".

Overall the news is a bit mixed, though we're a bit happy Microsoft is putting the handcuffs on carriers, especially regarding the addition of their own software/services and blocking the addition of trial-ware. Likewise for ROM updates, which will now be centralized. However, we're a bit worried about the 2D/3D driver situation as that has been a problem in the past.

What say you? Read the original article here (Google Translated).

[via SlashGear]

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X: The story of closing apps

If there's one piece of Windows Mobile Professional that's driven us (and likely many of you) bat-poop-crazy over the past few years, it's the little "X" button that might or might not actually exit out of an application. In the earlier days, when RAM was at a premium, this was more of an issue, as we needed to actually exit apps and not just shove them into the background. A functional phone is a good thing.

And so, one of the first apps we'd often install was one that would actually make the "X" button exit the app, as we've grown accustomed to on desktops. We long scratched our heads at this. It just didn't make sense.

Today, it's not nearly as big a deal. But now we're getting an inside look at the story behind the story here, from Mike Calligaro of the Windows Mobile Team blog. And it's a heck of a read, explaining how things progress from the first Pocket PCs. A teaser, if you will:

One thing we did has been pretty contentious. Along the way, we got feedback that users didn’t mind letting us manage the memory for them, but they really wanted a way to say, “I’m done with this. Make it go away.” So we put a “go away” button in the upper right corner of PocketPCs. This button just sends the application to the background. It doesn’t close it. If the system needs more memory while the app is in the background, it’ll close the app. But, if the system doesn’t need more memory, the app will stay in RAM and be ready to come back quickly the next time the user needs it.

Go read the whole thing here. Then weigh in below.

How do you prefer your app management?(survey)
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Tip of the Week: See your Clutter (Mobile Monger)

Managing space on your WM device is becoming less and less a concern as newer devices are coming with memory aplenty. But still, after a few months of installing and un-installing, storing pictures and documents, that device space can disappear. More importantly, sometimes an app will store cache on your device, depleting memory without your knowledge.

So how to know what is taking up the most space on your device? One way is to use Resco Explorer, which allows you to sort by directory size. Another is MemMaid which can show you memory space.

But both of those are pay apps (though highly recommend). Enter Mobile Monger a new freeware app that has a very unique method to inform you of your space allocation: it shows you.

Basically you launch the program and it shows you how much space something is taking up. Clicking on a directory will "zoom in" to show you details.

The program does require .NET 3.5 (download the .cab here!) and does zap resources, so don't use any other apps during the "scan" process. Redrawing the screen is also a bit slow, but hey...it's free and does it what it's suppose to, so give it a shot!

Download HERE

Via PocketNow

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New Memory Card Standard Coming

Apparently "Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Texas Instruments, Micron Technology, and others" are developing a new flash memory card standard they hope will replace the now-common SD card standard. The good news: it should be faster and require less power than current memory cards. The bad news: yet another memory card standard out there.

We already have MMC, SD, miniSD, microSD, Compact Flash, xD, Sony's whateverStick, and so on and so on. I'm happy these days that I can put everything on a microSD and then use adapters for basically any smartphone I would want to use. If this UFS is to be the new standard, let's hope that the consortium gets everybody on board, because I smell a BluRay vs HDDVD kind of situation in the offing and it doesn't smell good.

The goal of the new specification, dubbed Universal Flash Storage (UFS), is memory cards with high-speed access to large multimedia files, while at the same time reducing power-consumption. The target performance level is a significant advancement beyond that of the varied flash cards popular today. Under the new standard, a 90-minute movie that that takes up 4 GB on a memory card will be loaded in seconds.

Read: Mobile Phone Makers Developing Another Memory Card Standard

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