prototype

Microsoft Gulf, a division of the company that is based in the Middle East, is increasing its efforts to make WP7 more accessible and usable to their customers who live in the region. By partnering with digital marketing firm Prototype, Microsoft plans to bring a number of new applications to the Windows Phone Marketplace, all of which are built for purposes and businesses that are unique to the UAE (United Arab Emirates).

The list of new apps includes titles like Time Out Dubai, to give users access to restaurant reviews and locations; Aramex, for tracking courier shipments; and mParc, an exclusive Windows Phone Mango app that will give users instant access to Dubai's paid parking lots.

As more of these localized apps are built, Microsoft is making it clear that they intend to spend their massive marketing budget wisely to increase their WP7 user-base. Expect to see more such programs launched worldwide as not only Microsoft, but soon Nokia, continue to integrate WP7 into the world of smartphone users.

Source: IT Pro Portal

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Look at what we have here, leaking clearly out of a development factory in either China or Hong Kong (forgive us, it's 2am), we get a nice clear look at the Nokia N9, cough, 'Sea Ray' for Windows Phone 7. We can finally see the buttons near the bottom, putting to rest the "virtual button "speculation from earlier.

Watch as halfway through the video the device even boots up with a new "7" logo screen and it pops in a build of Mango (check out the Mango lock screen, natch). The camera also boots up quickly and we get the first glimpse of what that will be like.

Updates: We also have word that this version of Mango is RTM aka release to manufacturer, meaning this may be pretty close to final for everything. Specifically it is build 7710 (Thanks, anon).

By the looks of it, no front facing camera. In fact, in the camera app we should see the camera toggle, like here.

Source: WPXAP; Thanks, Talan1314, for the info and Rafael Rivera, for the assist!

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Could Microsoft's recent domain acquisition signify a possible future collaboration between Sony Ericsson and Microsoft? It's surely debatable, but the domain names are so vague that it could cover a joint-venture between Sony itself and Microsoft (in entertainment etc.), as opposed to Sony Ericsson with Windows Phone 7. See the domains for yourself, sony-microsoft.com and microsoft-sony.com (both redirect to Bing SERPs), not really 'WP7 friendly' right?

Forum users at Neogaf discovered the domain names that were registered to Microsoft through Corporation Service Company (CSC), a corporate identity protection firm. The replies in the thread contain ideas that range from the software giant possibly taking over Sony (or vice versa), a Sony Vs Microsoft fighting game, Microsoft trolling, or -- of course -- Sony Ericsson WP7 handsets.

Sony Ericsson, once named as a key partner, had produced prototypes of a WP7 handset (with some cool concepts being designed), but the manufacturer never came to light with volume and a release. We mustn't forget that the two companies may be strong competitors in the gaming market, but Sony works with Microsoft and Windows so something could relate to the Vaio product line. Then again, these are mere domain names, Microsoft has a catalog of registrations. What do you guys think, what's most probable to come out of this should anything actually happen?

Source: Neogaf, via: WinRumors

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We previously covered leaked photos of the Sony Ericsson device being spread like wildfire, but were later confirmed (as we believed) to be of a cancelled prototype from last year prior to the Windows Phone 7 launch. Sony Ericsson wasn't at the launch party for cookies, neither have they been announced as a future OEM for the platform since it looks like the company have continued doubts.

We have now seen photos of a white version of the prototype "Julie" on a Polish forum, but this device lacks the functionality of the previously leaked handset with bootable ROM. Nice to see 16GB mentioned though and it doesn't look like a half bad phone with the keyboard reminding me much of my TV remote control. More photos after the break. 

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Just as we thought those leaked pics showing off a Sony Ericsson device running Windows Phone 7 were of a canceled prototype, at least according to Eldar Murtazin of Mobile-Review. In a tweet, he reveals that yes, that quirky phone with the super old build of WP7 was back in the days when Sony was a launch partner but alas, something made them back out from the deal.

Kind of a real shame too, since Sony doesn't have that much cred with Windows Mobile/Phone users anymore, yet this device actually wowed quite a few of us. Perhaps they'll have a change of heard and we'll see this device some day.

Source: Twitter; via Pocketnow

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A picture has surfaced of what appears to be a Sony Ericsson Windows Phone, sporting a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, akin to the LG Qunatum and HTC 7 Pro. The picture evidently appeared on Lizhecome and was picked up by Xperia Blog.

As Pocketnow points out, some of those tiles look like the old, early development ones from when the OS was first introduced in February 2010. That could either mean this was a prototype device, back when SE was announced as a key launch partner, or...ya know, it's fake. We're leading towards the former theory though only because of the hardware buttons--those don't looked photoshopped to our eyes and would be a lot harder to fake than a single screen shot.

If it is a prototype, it sure looks nice and we hope SE has a change of heart soon and maybe brings this out. Anywho, discuss away on your theory.

Source: Lizhecome; via Xperia Blog, Pocketnow, nanapho.jp; Thanks, tezawaly

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Not much is known or evidently can be said about this device, but it appears Samsung is tossing around another prototype device featuring Windows Phone 7.

Perhaps it's the Cetus (SGH-i917)?

Though rather large and blocky, the device seems to feature, unsurprisingly, an AMOLED screen. Due to the Twitter's location, we're betting this isn't necessarily a device for the U.S., but who knows what Samsung has up their sleeve.

Our overall reaction: meh

[via @andrejt; pic]

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Who would have thought that one of Asus's prototype (?) phones featuring Windows Phone 7 would show up in Pakistan (via Twitter)?

Nothing is known about the CPU, radio, camera or what carrier--all we can tell is it's a black slab with a nice brushed metal face. Not to shabby, but obviously those specs for Chassis 1 are pretty strict with little in the way of differentiation so far.

Will we ever see Asus in the U.S.? Probably not anytime soon, but hey, we're hopin' they make a deal somewhere, sometime.

[Shaistajafri (Twitter) via Pocketnow]

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Looks like the folks at MobileTechWorld got to play with the Samsung Omnia HD modified for Windows Phone 7.

They note that the processor has been updated from the lackluster TI OMAP 3430 to a Snapdragon (presumably 1GHz) and that this device probably won't make it to production, for obvious reasons.

Their impressions? Very positive noting 

As you can see in the video below everything is running smoothly with no sign of lag or stuttering and everything was functional on the handset (GPS, data, and even camera). It’s the smoothies mobile experience I have ever witness (on par with the iPhone) and it definitely feels a lot better when used on a real handset compared to the desktop emulator.

That seems to be the consensus lately on anyone who gets to play with one of these prototypes, which is a great sign considering finalized hardware and software is still months away.

Also, the video game 'Twin Blades' by Press Star Studio was shown off. The game is currently available on Xbox Live Arcade (400 points) and was ported in under 2 weeks by one programmer. It's already fully integrated with Xbox including achievements and this will be available when WP7 launches. Sweet--going to download to XBox right now.

Both videos after the jump.

[via MobileTechWorld; Twin Blades]

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Ever since Microsoft showed off Windows Phone 7 Series at Mobile World Congress, one of the major questions has been what kind of hardware can we expect from the device manufacturers. All we saw in Barcelona was a developer device.

But today on The Engadget Show, Microsoft’s Aaron Woodman brought a new toy. It was a prototype LG device, with the Windows Phone 7 Series OS, a sliding QWERTY keyboard -- which was a bit of a surprise -- all of the hardware buttons that we’ve been told to expect, a 5-megapixel camera with flash, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Let's reiterate that this was a prototype, and we'd kind of like to see a production unit with a little more sophistication. An new OS of this caliber deserves something that at least looks like more than the hardware the old Windows Mobile (sorry, but it is) runs on.

Oh, and the fact that Paul and Nilay posted their hands-on with the LG device as The Engadget Show was taping live was more than a little sick. [Engadget]

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