Just when you thought the Samsung Focus Flash had vanished into thin air, AT&T has started pushing out the Windows Phone 7.5 (a.k.a. Tango) update to the tiny little phone.
Windows Phone Tango brings a handful of small fixes to the OS that includes multiple images in MMS, send ringtones via MMS, more reliable push notifications, new wallpapers and a few other performance optimizations.
AT&T if offering a free Samsung Focus Flash for existing customers who add a new two-year contract to their account. The 4G Windows Phone (see our review) is a perfect freebie for anyone who's looking to add a second line to their account.
Sporting a 3.7" S-AMOLED display, 5MP rear-shooter (with f2.6 lens), 1.4Ghz chip, 512MB RAM and 8GB storage, the Focus Flash is no slouch when it comes to powering the latest apps and games.
Do note that this limited-time offer is not available in-store, and a $5.95 shipping and handling fee may apply. The new service line must be a 2-year agreement with voice ($9.99/mo) and data plan ($20/mo) added.
Another day, another odd OS update. This time we're getting word from reader Justin A. that the Focus S and Focus Flash were seen in an AT&T store sporting OS build 7739.25. We guess AT&T could not afford the 0.75 to get 7740? Oh, we jest.
No word on an OS changes or fixes here, though seeing as how close it is to 7740, we surmise that this could be a US version of that update which features the Exchange 2003 email fix. That's cold comfort though for all of us who have the "disappearing keyboard" bug which is addressed, along with other security fixes, in OS build 8107. That build of the OS, which features LTE support and will be found on the Nokia Lumia 900 and HTC TITAN II, began rolling out last week. No word on any US carriers getting that update.
We just checked our Focus S to see if there was an update pending and alas, nothing. Hopefully we'll find out more soon.
Update: We should also note that the Firmware has a slight change (11.11.1), as does the Radio Hardware (0.0.0.6 versus our 0.0.0.0) and a slightly newer Bootloader (5.11.3 versus our 18.104.22.168) meaning this seems like a genuine pending OS update.
Well, it's nice to see AT&T kicking off the new year by once again promoting the Samsung Focus Flash. We guess the low-priced Windows Phone gets more advertising priority than the Focus S or HTC Titan--a decision we're not exactly thrilled with, but we suppose we'll take what we can get.
What you see to the side though is a full-page ad in today's LA Times. That's a pretty popular, widely read newspaper and full-page ads are fairly eye catching (not to mention expensive). Hopefully it will pay off for AT&T and Windows Phone but as we mentioned, we couldn't help but wonder why they're not pushing the giant Titan nearly as much--seems an easy sell with that 4.7" screen.
This isn't exactly anything groundbreaking, but it's interesting nonetheless. Christina Tynan-Wood has published an article over at Momster where it's explained how she managed (somewhat accidentally) to turn her son away from Apple, and has bought him a Windows Phone for Christmas. The son's desire for an iPhone stems from friends and the enticing brand which is the big fruit, but this desperation for the iProduct was cut when his mother received a Samsung Focus Flash from Microsoft.
Leaving the device on the counter in the kitchen, the intrigued son picked up the Focus Flash and played around the OS, while checking out the Xbox Live integration. Blown away by how different Windows Phone is, Christina was given a revised Christmas wish list with the iPhone crossed out, replaced by "phone like yours". The main benefits for her son are Xbox Live, Facebook and Metro UI simplicity, but the lack of apps compared to other platforms is also noted.
One of the more recent Windows Phone commercials keys in on the Samsung Focus Flash and group messaging. Plus it highlights one of man's worst shopping nightmares.
The commercial has aired with some frequency here in the States and I've also notice Microsoft has sponsored several USA Network shows such as Psych. The ads and show sponsorships definitely pushes Windows Phones more into the spotlight.
Now if we could only get the carriers to join in on the push.
Now here's some mainstream advertising that should catch people's attention--the Samsung Focus Flash, a great mid-range Windows Phone on AT&T, is being pushed hard on YouTube right now.
Heading to the main site and you are greeted with a banner ad and the popular commercial for the device. One thing is for certain, of all the new Windows Phones, AT&T and Samsung are sure pushing the Flash, even more so than the Focus S or HTC Titan which is a bit odd. But hey, we'll take any Windows Phone exposure we can get and the Focus Flash is a slick little device (see review).
The title says it all. If you're one of the lucky folks near a Microsoft Store, you can swing by there on Friday to pick up one of those swanky new second-generation Windows Phones for a super low price of zero dollars (on contract).
Yeah, there's that last bit of being on contract. But if you have even thought about switching to the Death Star aka AT&T even for a aplit second (it's really not that bad), we have to say, picking up the TITAN for nothing? That's a good deal. Heck, we may even pick up a phone or two for family members. Not sure if a store is near you? Here's your store locator.
As a side, who else can't wait to have a Microsoft Store near them? Thanks, Rudy R., for the photo!
Edit: As noted in comments, this may even apply to online orders. Stay tuned on Friday!
The Samsung Focus Flash has found itself being advertised in the Washington Post newspaper among a handful of other AT&T handsets. Looking good! If you're not completely aware of the second generation Focus Flash, check out our insightful review.
The HTC Radar and Samsung Focus Flash can both be considered entry level or budget Windows Phones. They both have low pricing points when compared to their big brothers the HTC Titan and Samsung Focus S. And they both have scaled back features (smaller screen, less memory) but meet minimum specs.
While both may be considered an entry level Windows Phone, both are solid performers within their own right. We've reviewed both and find them both be be quality Windows Phones in their own right.
Now we'll see how both measure up against one another. And for that, you'll need to slide on past the break.
For those not familiar, Gorilla Glass is super strong, scratch resistance, super glass from Corning. Here's Corning's demo of the glass at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show.
Gsmarena and Infotech are both reporting that the Samsung Focus Flash is fitted with Gorilla Glass. The Samsung Focus S is being reported as having Gorilla Glass via Samsung's Online Support. Granted online support reps have been known to be misunderstood, but with the Samsung Focus S being patterned after the Galaxy II (which has Gorilla Glass) this isn't too far a stretch.
We have inquiries out to Samsung and if we hear different, we'll pass it on. Samsung has strong ties with Gorilla Glass and Corning using the damage resistant glass in Windows Phones, tablets, and Android devices. It shouldn't be any surprise if Samsung's latest Windows Phones aren't following suit.
While we haven't heard of any reports yet of this being shown on TV, it sure looks like it was made for it and we hope to see it soon.
The ad features the Focus Flash (see review), AT&T's name for the Omnia W, and two guys joking around, showing off the social-network integration, including live updates, photo uploads and more. It's fairly effective.
Lots of folks have asked for these ads to show off the actual OS and how it's easier--we think this goes in that direction and adds a few laughs too. While it's a different approach than the Radar 4G ad, we think bother offer interesting glimpses into Windows Phone--plus it's just nice to see ads for once.
As far as Windows Phones are concerned, Samsung has enjoyed a good bit of success with the Focus. The company recently released two new Windows Phones they hope will enjoy the same amount of success, the Focus S and Focus Flash. We first turn our sites first to the Focus Flash.
The Focus Flash is one of the more compact Windows Phones available and follows the same design of Samsung's successful, overseas Windows Phone the Omnia 7. Sporting a 3.7" Super AMOLED screen the build quality of the Flash is very good and the phone fits snugly in your hand. While the Flash makes a very good first impression, the compact size may not appeal to everyone. There's not a lot of elbow room with the on-screen keyboard and I often found myself activating the Search or Back Button when I held the phone too tightly.
Another concern with the Flash is the amount of storage space available. The Flash is fitted with 8GB of storage and once you've loaded all the software, only 6.33GB of storage remains. Many will find this unappealing in that they will have to be more selective on what is loaded onto the Flash.
The performance, build quality and price does make the Flash an attractive Windows Phone but the reservations illustrate what may be the state of Windows Phones today. There simply isn't a bad phone out there, it's just a matter of finding which fits your needs, budget or tastes the best. If you like a more compact feel to your Windows Phone and storage isn't an issue, the Flash will do nicely.
Looking for a good deal on the new Samsung Focus Flash or Focus S? Got a penny? If so, head on over to AmazonWireless where not only can you find the Focus S for $149.99 and the Flash for $0.01.
The prices do require the two year service contract and the out of contract price for the Flash will run you $339.99 (not too shabby) or $589.99 for the Focus S. The not-so-good news about all this is that according to the listing, the Samsung Focus S is on back order but Amazon expects it to ship 8 to 9 days.
You can find the Samsung Focus S here at AmazonWireless and the Focus Flash here.
We're still working on full reviews of both new Windows Phones but in the mean time you can check out our first impressions videos on the Samsung Focus S and Samsung Focus Flash to give you a feel for these new phone.
Thanks goes out to everyone who tipped us on this!
The Extra Settings setting is a new feature on the Samsung Focus S and Flash. As we mentioned earlier it covers Auto Display Intensity, Key Vibration Feedback and Echo Cancellation. It is also apparently being treated as an application instead of a firmware feature in that it was updated this morning via the Marketplace.
Along with the Extra Settings, the High Fidelity Positioning settings were updated as well. So far the updates have only come through on the Samsung Focus S and not the Focus Flash. As to what the update covered, no clue. With the settings not changing it was likely a bug fix or a test to see if it could be done.
We have heard one report that the Focus S's screen seems brighter when set to automatic and I have to admit mine does look a little better after updating. More than likely it's coincidence in that our eyes are getting used to the screen.
If you've received the updates and have noticed a difference, feel free to chime in over in this Forums discussion or in the comments below.
If you're considering whether or not you should upgrade to the Samsung Focus S or Focus Flash, then perhaps a further $75 being subtracted from the total cost (on AT&T) could sway your mind? Over at TechBargains, they have a $75 off coupon code, which can be used when checking out for the new Samsung Windows Phone handsets (or any other phone/accessory). One reader, Ahmed, has informed us that the coupon works for the new Focus S and Flash on top of the free overnight shipping and waived activation fee. His out-the-door total cost for the Focus S was $133.74. Not bad!
The Focus Flash is a compact Windows Phone sporting a 3.7" Super AMOLED screen. The phone comes across as well built and comfortable in the hand. The Flash weighs in at 4.1 ounces which is strangely .2 ounces heavier than the larger Focus S. It's virtually identical to the Omnia 7 and comparable in feel to the HTC Surround (but thinner and lighter) and the HTC Radar (tad shorter). The phone is 4G compatible which will be a nice thing once 4G service becomes more widely available.
Having only tinkered with the Flash for a short time it makes a nice impression. Here are my initial reservations. First the size may not appeal to everyone. If you like compact phones, you'll love the Flash. Next, the Flash is fitted with 8GB of storage and doesn't have an expansion slot. After all is said and done with preloaded software, you are left with just over 6GB of storage left. Some may see this as too restrictive.
Even though there are some reservations with the Focus Flash, the Windows Phone makes a nice first impression. The screen looks fantastic, the 1.4GHz processor moves things along nicely, and I like the physical Start button.
The Focus Flash is running about $399 out of contract from AT&T and we've seen contractual discounts dropping the price as low as $.01 (here at AmazonWireless). Could we tag the Flash as a Windows Phone for the budget minded?
I'll echo Dan's earlier thoughts in that it's nearly impossible to say which is the best Windows Phone out there. HTC, Nokia, and Samsung have all stepped it up by producing quality second generation phones. Again, this means you don't have to worry about the quality of the phones but instead, concentrate on finding the Windows Phone that fits your personal needs/tastes best.
Look for a full review of the AT&T Samsung Focus Flash in a few days.
It appears that both the AT&T Samsung Focus S and Flash will be capable of Internet Sharing. Or at least that's what AT&T's Support Websites are indicating.
Support sites for both the Focus S and Flash contain instructions on how to turn on your personal hotspot with these new Windows Phones. Both instructions do note that there is a prerequisite to have a compatible rate plan. We're not sure if that means you have to belly up for a DataConnect plan or if the DataPro 4GB plan will do the trick. Personally, I'm crossing my fingers that the old unlimited plans will work.
You can find the tethering information for the Focus S here and for the Flash here at AT&T Support.
While we've been waiting for AT&T to finally announce some dates for their new Windows Phone Mango lineup, it looks to be real close. Like next week close.
On the official AT&T Facebook page, it was announced that the Samsung Focus S ($199.99) and Focus Flash ($99.99) will be available starting November 6th--hooray!
Of course the HTC Titan is left off of that list, presumably because the big guy is still getting ready (it's tough being that large, they need extra big ships to get 'em over here from Taiwan we hear).
The Samsung Focus S, featuring a gorgeous 4.3" Super AMOLED Plus screen, super thin and light body, a 1.5GHz CPU with 8MP rear and 1.3MP cameras is sure to impress and makes a worthy successor to the original Samsung Focus. And that Focus Flash ain't no slouch either.
The GT-i8350 aka Omnia W, which suspiciously looks a lot like the Focus Flash for AT&T, has taken its spot at the FCC and looks to have cleared any remaining hurdles for release here in the States.
The Flash is expected to hit shelves sometime in November but no release date or pricing has been revealed. The "mid range" device features a 3.7" Super AMOLED screen, 1.5GHz CPU and a 5MP rear camera. Although mid-range, it looks like a nice little device to us, especially for those who don't want a large phone.