wp7

We previously published an in-depth article of the experience in coming to Windows Phone 7 from Android, we now have a great insight to an Android fanatic trying out a WP7 device. Phil Turpin received the device from a friend at Tracey and Matt and wrote back some comments as to how he felt about the platform.

Having just played with a WP7 phone for the last few days it's my belief that it DOES stand a chance. A good chance.

I'm an Android fan, heck I'm writing this on my phone (so if you see any ridiculous typos, you know why), and I love my Android phone but WP7 has something. 

My initial reaction was "hey, this is crap compared to Android, I can't even customise it." But after using it for a while I see that I don't really need to. Android's great for customisation and granular control but the problem with almost all the people here (myself included) is that we're looking at this from a techie's point of view. As someone pointed out, most Android users wont even know what rooting is and likely wont even know what a task killer is. How many Android users know what Linux is let alone care that Android is Linux? 

Now look at how Apple have cornered the market? Simplicity. People don't have to think when using iOS. It just works (so I've been told). WP7 is trying to be like that (& it comes pretty damn close). It also looks and flows quite nicely. Now look at the kind of person who used to buy Nokia phones? Your mum, grandma etc. Do they want to root a phone? Can they be bothered with Task Killers? (Heck, do you even need one on WP7? I know I haven't. Yet). Also think about how many businesses/corporations had stock Nokia handsets in the 90's and 00's (yes, I'm aware that we've come along since then) and now think about how many businesses have an existing MS infrastructure? The Nokia/WP marriage is perfect for them. 

I don't think that WP7 will gain the majority spot in the market (but, sadly, I'm not infallible ;) but I think it'll be a lot more successful than most give credit for. I use Linux as my desktop & dev environment and Android for my phone and I dearly love them both however I am going to invest in a Windows Phone dev environment because I'd be stupid not to. 

A very nice take on first impressions when coming across from the Android platform, or just having a play with one of the WP7 devices. Notice how at the end of the quote, Phil mentions he would be stupid not to invest in the Windows Phone development environment? Pretty strong words echoing our thoughts as to where Microsoft could take the OS. 

Source: Tracey and Matt

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WP7 Surprise TV Advertisement

This is a pretty neat advertisement on the WindowsPhoneUK channel, hoping to see it aired on ITV every three seconds (notably the worst TV channel on the planet for the sheer volume adverts inbetween programmes). Throw in a British accent that sounds similar to some video game podcasters and you got yourself a winner.

We also seem to be travelling down the route in having WP7 adverts for each network like the iPhone - same advert, but the ending is edited to included o2, Orange, T-Mobile, Three, Vodafone etc. Have you seen this aired on the big screen?

Via: Daily Mobile

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In the world of mobile phone technologies changing from one device to another usually brings excitement. Getting a new device with more memory, faster CPU/GPU, better cameras, newer and faster radios is so thrilling. Other times it can bring the same immense excitement mixed in with the feeling of wanting to throw up. If you fall into the latter camp, it’s probably because you are switching OS platforms and a devote technophile. That is where I am currently at … the week before a new device launch and I am planning to switch OS camps. This time around is the HTC Arrive for Sprint which is the first Windows Phone 7 device for CDMA networks; you might know the GSM variant, the HTC 7 Pro, with slide-out keyboard and all.

This isn’t my first (or last) switch from phone OS’s. I’ve gone from PalmOS to Windows Mobile (2003 all the way to 6.5) to Blackberry, to webOS, to Android and, to iOS. All of these in no particular order and on several occasions more than once. This time feels different to me than previous changes. When I wanted to switch from Palm to Windows Mobile, it was because of the lack of multitasking and Wi-Fi support. From Windows Mobile to webOS, it was the lack of pretty and notifications. From webOS to Android, it was… well it was a lot (credit goes to Palm/HP for making round two three more interesting). So, why am I making the switch now and why the sudden urge to expunge my Jolt Cola and beef jerky?

The rest 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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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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For the most part, the camera hardware on the new Windows Phone 7 devices perform really good (save the HD7's pink color cast). The biggest headache the Windows Phone 7 camera presents is on the software side. Tweak the settings and when you exit the camera, the phone reverts to the default settings.

MobileTechWorld recently put the latest unlocked emulator through the ropes (which reflects the pending WP7 update) and discovered that the update doesn't address this feature. Camera settings continue to revert to the default settings when you exit the app.

No official word from Microsoft if this "fix" ever made the drawing board for the update or, like the screen capture feature, wasn't brought up enough in research groups. There is a long shot that adding the ability to retain camera settings made it to the update after the emulator was updated but we're not holding our breaths on that one. We can only hope it makes the next update.

Oh and if Microsoft is listening, this (along with screen captures) is a feature we'd like to see.

Source: MobileTechWorld

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Can't decide between WP7 and Android?  Thanks to some of the minds at XDA, now you don't have, if you have an HTC HD2.  Due to limitations in both operating systems, WP7 will reside in NAND memory and Android will be booted from an SD card. 

Here's what you will need for the recommended method:

Once you've gathered your materials, go here to get started, or you can find another method here.  Good luck!  Try not to hose your HD2.

Source: Ali Waqas (Thanks for the tip!); via: XDA

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Following on from a previous article we published about an abnormal amount of data being used by Windows Phone 7 devices when idle, the BBC have reported that they have been informed by Microsoft with a status - they are investigating reports.

Some have calculated that their phones send "between 30 and 50MB of data" each day, an amount that even a heavy Internet user would have slight difficulty reaching. I use my Samsung Omnia 7 on the go with web browsing, email (three accounts set to push) and apps, I can't seem to hit 20MB, let alone double that amount.

It is interesting to see that the majority of complaints of the problem are from the US, with WP7 user Julie informing Paul Thurrott:

I received an e-mail from AT&T saying that I was close to my 2GB data limit which truly shocked me as I feel I do not use data that much, I went and looked at my AT&T account online and noticed that my phone was sending huge chunks of data seemingly in patterns.

Another reported that they had noticed their device "idle data usage is around 2-5MB per hour", which is frightening when taking into account that contracts are normally capped, and people wouldn't mind using their phones for more than two minutes each day without adding more charges to their bill.

There could, however, be a fix for those who are experiencing phantom data usage. Bil Simser explains (what many have suggested to try) that turning off the feedback option in the WP7 settings area could drastically drop the amount of data that your phone uses. Have you tried the solution, and what results did you find? Do you believe that data caps by network providers are too low for smart phones?

Source: BBC, Fear & Loathing

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CNET managed to get some more information from Microsoft regarding the upcoming January/February update to Windows Phone 7, described by Ballmer during his keynote. While we know about copy and paste but the other new feature quoted as a "significant improvement in performance when loading or switching between applications" was left a little vague.

Aaron Woodman, director of Microsoft's mobile communications business, went over some of the details with CNET and it turns out to be pretty interesting. In short, front-loading, graphic intensive apps will see the most, maybe even dramatic, improvement, while more text-based apps won't see as much. Basically, things like XBox games and apps with locally stored information will get a huge boost. However, apps like Flixster won't see much of an improvement, only because they pull down their data from the web and that's a different thing altogether.

When given an example like Bejewled, the comparison between an updated and non-updated device was given to CNET. Evidently, the updated device loaded Bejeweled a full 15-20 seconds faster than the non-updated version, which Woodman appropriately called "dramatic". What is nice of course is the fact that developers need not make any changes to their coding--this is all on Microsoft's memory architecture and how it allocates resources, so technically every app will see a gain, just some more than others.

Finally, you can also sense the nervousness of Microsoft regarding app-updates. While there are many "unknowns" about the whole process, the feeling from this and other interviews on the matter is Microsoft doesn't know either: they taking baby steps to make sure it all goes smoothly and they are leaving themselves wiggle room to adjust if needed.

Source: CNET

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Awhile back, we first broke the news about Windows Phone 7 and the tough protection scheme Microsoft has implemented to prevent piracy. Specifically, private keys (PVKs) which are tied to the hardware and need to server-authenticate. This hurdle would prevent non-approved devices from accessing all LIVE services and severely limit device functionality. Interestingly enough, just weeks later this was confirmed by team DFT, who were attempting to hack WP7 to the aging (but versatile) HTC HD2.

Fast-forward today and it is being claimed (not yet demonstrated) that certain aspects of PVK has been breached. But, like before, they're still far from a viable implementation. Pocketnow has summarized this as follows:

Several different methods are being attempted to bypass the limitation, including the search for a so-called "corporate key," which would essentially be a universal PVK for large-scale activations. Unfortunately, because all devices are security-flashed at the factory, such a key may not even exist. Secondly, overseas developers -- beyond the reach of Microsoft legal, apparently -- are said to be hacking the different bits of the device-side authentication piecemeal, but because of the unusually intricate security measures employed by Redmond, "it doesn't really look good" according to our source.

What does this all mean? In reality, that nothing has changed. While porting portions of the WP7 OS to the HD2 is doable, attempting everything is and will remain very difficult. So difficult in fact, it begs the question if this is worth all the effort. At least here in the U.S., with a new Samsung Focus fetching for $99 without 3rd party sales, WP7 hardware seems cheap enough to negate the value of hacking a broken but new OS onto the HD2.

Source: PocketNow

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Steve Ballmer has just wrapped up his 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show Keynote Address. He addressed three key components for Microsoft; Xbox 360, Windows 7, and Windows Phone 7.

Discussing how productive 2010 has been for Microsoft, Ballmer described it as a year filled with new experiences for consumers. Ballmer touched on the success of the Windows Phone Marketplace that now has over 5,500 apps and 20,000+ developers on board. On average, Windows Phone users are seeing 100 apps a day introduced to the Marketplace.

The success is being reflected by consumer confidence in that 9 out of 10 AT&T customers would recommend Windows Phone 7 to a friend. It was clear that Microsoft was pleased with the two month impact Windows Phone 7 has had and Ballmer continued to voice a strong commitment to the new phones.

Here are a few points from Ballmer's keynote on what we can expect in 2011 for Windows Phone 7.

OS Updates: Ballmer phrased it: "Over the next few months we will be delivering a series of platform improvements that show we are taking feedback to heart in an effort to continue to enhance the products we release. The updates will be released automatically and will include a few changes". No time frame was set but Ballmer did mention these updates will bring Copy/Paste to Windows Phone 7 as well as "significant improvement in performance when loading or switching between applications".

Sprint and Verizon: During the first half of 2011, Sprint and Verizon will join the Windows Phone family.  While there was no mention of which phones are headed where, indications remain that the HTC Trophy is headed to Verizon and the HTC 7 Pro will be Sprint's Windows Phone device.

Games: One of the strengths of Windows Phone 7 is the Xbox Live integration. Windows Phone users will see a series of new Xbox Live games heading to the platform including a version of the popular console game, Fable.

Fable Coin Golf (we're assuming it's a golf themed game) will allow any coins earned on the Windows Phone, carry over to the Xbox Live version of the game.  You also have Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 heading to the Windows Phone as well as the much anticipated Zombies!!!.

Apps: We saw a few new apps that caught our interests. There will be an Amazon.com app and a Bank of America app that will allow you to take care of your shopping and banking needs.  Hopefully, this will break the ice for more online retailers and financial institutions to bring their apps to Windows Phone 7.

It looks like 2011 is shaping up to be another year filled with new experiences for Microsoft consumers.

Update: See the entire video presentation after the break (grab a coffee, you'll need it, but it's worth it)

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Microsoft insider and author of Windows Phone Secrets Paul Thurrott has revealed some additional details about some of the Windows Phone 7 updates we can expect in 2011. We’ve discussed several of the rumors that have been floating around, and Thurrott confirms much of what we’ve been hearing.

The first update, rumored to be announced tomorrow night at the opening keynote at CES in Las Vegas, is entitled “NoDo” (No Donuts) reportedly in response to Android 1.6 (Donut). Thurrott reports that NoDo will RTM in January, with consumers seeing the update in the early February timeframe, after testing by carriers. NoDo will have copy and paste, CDMA support, and supports Qualcomm’s 7x30 chipset.

Thurrott also confirms what we’ve been hearing about Mango, which has been termed a “Major” update to Windows Phone 7. Mango should see HTML5 and Silverlight support within the browser, also bits of the Trident 5 rendering engine contained within Internet Explorer 9. Referred to within Microsoft as the “entertainment” branch, Mango is something we will definitely be looking forward to.

From a scheduling standpoint, Thurrott makes it clear that we should expect more updates between NoDo and Mango, though he doesn’t go into additional detail.

We’ll be on hand at CES this week to keep you up to date. For the latest and greatest news, follow us on Twitter (@wpcentral, @backlon, @philnickinson, @tferrill).

Source: WindowsPhoneSecrets

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According to Thurrott's WinSuperSite, Windows Phone 7 may be sending large chunks of 3G data behind our backs, data that is not easily explained by any apps and regardless of WiFi availability. This is actually the first we've heard of this issue, but Thurrott claims this is "widely reported" so we're not sure what to make of it.

According to one reader who wrote into WinSuperSite:

I went and looked at my AT&T account online and noticed that my phone was sending huge chunks of data seemingly in patterns. For instance on November 21-24 it sent between 30 and 50 MB of data at 10:41pm each day and Dec 1-4 it sent between 30 and 50 MB of data at 9:41am each day. On December 23rd I turned on airplane mode so my phone could no longer send data. I turned airplane mode off briefly on December 23rd and the phone sent 400 MB of data.

Curious. Personaly speaking, I have a lot of 3rd party apps installed--66 to be exact--and when I just checked my AT&T data usage, I'm below 700MB with 5 days left on my bill-cycle. Translation: I'm certainly not having this problem. Granted, I don't use Facebook nor have my pictures backed up to SkyDrive, so those two may be the culprit. [Update: And yes, I have my "send feedback" enabled for Microsoft, so that's not it either]

But enough jibber-jabbing, any of you experiencing this supposed wide-spread issue or is this just a fluke? Sound off in comments.

Source: WinSuperSite Mailbag

Related: How's your data consumption since going to WP7?

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Although it's been rumored and hinted at for a little while that Microsoft was planning on releasing Windows Phone 7 in the second half of 2011 for China, today it was confirmed by Yang Tianyang, Microsoft's communications sector director for the Greater China region.

The announcement is pretty huge for a few reasons. For one, the market in China is obviously quite large, giving Microsoft ample opportunity to potentially sell millions of devices. In 2010, 62 million smartphones are expected to be sold, up from 21 million just one year earlier. Number two, historically, Windows Mobile was one of the top selling mobile OSs in that country, meaning Microsoft has some positive legacy to build off of. On the other hand, just like everywhere else in the world, China is plagued by mass iPhone and Android adoption, making the challenge their just as significant as it is here in the States.

The other big news is that Microsoft is in talks with Lenovo, ZTE and Huawei to build WP7 devices specifically for China. Huawei is already a huge contender in the Android market but who knew Lenovo was in on the game too? While we'll probably never see such devices over here, it's good for Microsoft to continue to augment that OEM portfolio.

Source: Network World

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Analyst Charles Wolf of Needham and Co., is calling the launch of Windows Phone 7 a success. Wolf bases his analysis not on current numbers, but on Microsoft’s commitment to marketing Windows Phone 7. The report further states that if Microsoft continues to grow market share, Google’s Android platform could be the big loser. Much of Android’s success is due to Verizon’s Droid line of phones, which in turn can be attributed to the lack of a Verizon iPhone. A potential iPhone launch on Verizon, coupled with Microsoft’s commitment to CDMA support, could leave Google the odd man out.

Source: Needham and Co.; via: Computer World, Apple Insider

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Update: WinRumors is reporting from an unnamed source that Microsoft will detail this update in February at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. More specifically, there will be two updates: one for copy/paste + CDMA in January and this bigger one sometime thereafter.

Another developer has come forward, this time saying that they expect a significant update to Windows Phone 7 in February. Previous conversations about this update, which is rumored to include copy and paste functionality in addition to CDMA support, had put the timeframe for release in January. Microsoft executives have for the most part stuck with the "early 2011" party line.

The developer also states that the update will also relax some of the restrictions that Microsoft has placed on developers including in-app downloads and local application deployment for corporations. One thing is certain; this update can’t come soon enough for many users. What’s on your wish list? Are you waiting on additional functionality before you make the jump to Windows Phone 7? Sound off in the comments!

Source: Business Insider, WinRumors

 

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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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Although numbers are hard to come by, a blog post from online retailer MobilePlease shines some light on the poor sales of Windows Phone 7 so far.  In the post, the large online retailer gives some details:

Windows Phone 7 has got off to a sluggish start as far as our customers are concerned, accounting for just 3% of smartphone sales and a little under 2% of overall sales through MobilesPlease.co.uk and our network of partner sites that share our data feed.

They then go on to mention how Symbian is still outselling WP7 3:1 and that overall, interest is low, even when they asked "a few local high street mobile phone retailers, both network owned and independent" their thoughts.

Granted, it is still very early in the game and we believe Microsoft has some room here to gain momentum. There's also the larger question if these stats represent the overall market, but even if they're not 100% accurate, it's a startling trend nonetheless. But Microsoft really does have an image problem to get over and only time, exposure and good word of mouth will make this happen. Oh, and that rumored January update may go a very long way, assuming it is accurate.

Source; Blog MobilesPlease; via Computer World & Electronista

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We've been covering the rumored software update for Windows Phone 7 for sometime now, even having our forum members add some info to the mix. So far, the update is suppose to have the following features:

  • Bing turn-by-turn directions, improvements
  • Custom ringer support
  • Copy/Paste
  • Multi-tasking (of some form)

We have a feeling that's just the beginning, as Chris Walsh, known for his contribution to ChevronWP7, has evidently been leaked some info on the update, calling it "massive" and more tantalizingly, "MS took 3 months to do what Apple did in 3 years" and "Lets just say the could have called it Windows Phone 8"--that's exactly the kind of thing we and the market in general want to hear.

Whether or not it all bares fruit remains to be seen, but too many independent sources are all saying the same thing: the first update to Windows Phone 7 will impress.

Oh and one more thing (snicker), Chris promises some screenshots later today. Stay tuned.

Source: Twitter; via mobilitydigest

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