Thursday, April 21, 2011

Nokia and Microsoft deal finalized, ahead of schedule


And that's that.

Today, Nokia and Microsoft sealed the deal of the decade (in our eyes, at least) finalizing Nokia's commitment to the Windows Phone platform. Not bad for two months.

The good news is that not only was the deal finalized ahead of schedule, but work by Nokia in cranking out their first Windows Phones is progressing rapidly--however, Microsoft is still projecting "volume device shipments in 2012" but they also note in another blog post "the pressure is on for first delivery in 2011",

Game stats reveal some new WP7 devices in the field


The blog Occasional Gamer, by Elbert Perez (who makes a ton of games for Windows Phone), has listed the stats of devices running his games. Like the app "Dude, where is my update?", we can gain some insight into unreleased and upcoming devices for Windows Phone--or at the every least, get an idea of some of the things being tested.

ChevronWP7-Updated Phones Will Not Get Updates Past NoDo


Plenty of Windows Phone 7 owners were feeling a little bit let down after watching all the happy WP7 users in Europe get their NoDo updates, while those stuck on carriers in the States waited it out. Then, like a miracle, Chris Walsh released his ChevronWP7.Updater, forcing NoDo upon phones, carriers be damned. Microsoft started freaking out, warning that anyone using the tool was in for trouble later down the road, and it was swiftly pulled. Now we have a better understanding of what Microsoft was warning us about, as the company's revealed that phones which used the tool won't updated past NoDo.

Hacked the NoDo update and think you're safe? Think again


Back amongst the chaos of complaints, rants, tantrums and media surrounding the NoDo update process, Chris Walsh released a tool that forces a Windows Phone 7 device to update to NoDo - this hack was later regarded as a life-saver for all users who were impatiently awaiting the update notification.

Since then, there have been numerous reports and articles suggesting the tool (if used to forcefully update your handset) could cause problems down the road with future updates from Microsoft.

Multitasking Differences: WP7, Android, and iOS


Everybody wants a smartphone that multitasks, but multitasking can have different meanings and certainly different methods and implementations. We've recently learned that Windows Phone 7's Mango update will enable multitasking for the new OS, but it's definitely not going to be the same as the way Windows Mobile did it back around the turn of the century between 2000 and 2010. Back then multitasking was implemented in a similar way to how desktop computers do it. If you launch an application, it stays in memory. If it's performing a task, it will use the CPU as much as it wants until it's done regardless of whether you want to access another program and don't have the resources to do it.

WP7 security patch due out May 3?


Back in March we reported on some fraudulent SSL certificates that could make WP7 users vulnerable to phishing/spoofing attacks, and the possibility that MS would be releasing a security update to fix it. According to SlashGear, sources have revealed that MS plans to roll out the update on May 3. It is still unknown whether the patch will come in the form of an OTA push or through Zune software updates.

Microsoft To Push WP7 Mitigation Update Via Zune


We're quite sure you're familiar with recent rumors according to which Microsoft will push a mitigation update soon -- some say May 3 -- in order to fix the Internet Explorer vulnerability due to Comodo's nine fraudulent certificates.

We (and others) thought that being a lightweight update it might be the first one Redmond would push over-the-air in the history of Windows Phone 7.

Microsoft brings Photosynth to iOS but not WP7


Photosynth is a fantastic app that allows you combine multiple shots when one capture is simply not enough, perfect when requiring to take a landscape photo beyond the capabilities of the mobile device and engineer some cool panoramas with a 360 degrees effect.

Using the latest computer vision technology, the Photosynth app makes capturing panoramas fun and engaging, while creating sharp, high-resolution results. With the app, you can process, view, and store your panoramas directly on your device. Then, share them in a variety of ways, including to Facebook as images or as interactive panoramas (hosted for free) on

It has been readily available for download on PC, but has now made the leap to the iPhone line of devices - no sign of a WP7 offering though. While slightly confusing as to why Microsoft would offer their app to iPhone users before their own platform, it's understandable to an extent with iOS and OS X (arguably) being home to designers, photographers etc.

The app will enable iPhone users to upload their panoramas to Bing Maps, which will then become publicly viewable on Microsoft's Photosynth "map app", further enhancing a continuous viewable image of the world. Are you looking forward to the tool coming to WP7, and do you believe it's a smart move to go to iOS first?


Windows Phone 7 Mango: The Missing Features


We were surprised and excited to learn about the many surprise features coming to the Windows Phone 7 Mango update, which is due out later this year, or perhaps early next year (Microsoft has yet to announce a date). And it's very possible that there might be yet more new features coming, and we'll hear about them as we get closer to the release of Mango.

Screen Grabs: HTC Hero caught running WP7 on Smallville, Tess Mercer due for an upgrade


Screen Grabs chronicles the uses (and misuses) of real-world gadgets in today's movies and TV. Send in your sightings (with screen grab!) to screengrabs at engadget dot com.

It looks like Tess Mercer's got more than one hero in her life, but only one of them is running Windows Phone 7. In this week's episode of Smallville, Lois Lane places a call to Tess Mercer, who appears to be packing a white HTC Hero.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Microsoft offers President Obama a WP7 device


It seems Microsoft will do anything to get Windows Phone 7 devices in the hands of everyone who desire "cool" and "hip" products, like the president of the United States -- Mr. Barack Obama. In a recent report published by Fox News (interestingly enough), it seems the president is tired of old and boring technology, he demands new fancy buttons and big screens!

WP7 certified 8GB SD Cards at AT&T store


There's been much discussion surrounding the SD card slot on the Samsung Focus (we also previously covered AT&T offering compatible cards) with successfully inserting a microSD card into the slot to extend available memory bringing numerous reports of issues arising. There has been no sign of any official, supported, solution-bringing product on the horizon, until now.

HTC Mazaa heading to Sprint?


Leaked images of a new Windows Phone have surfaced. The HTC Mazaa appears to be sporting a 3.7" screen and, according to unconfirmed reports, will be headed to Sprint in the next six or so months.

The Mazaa resembles the HTC Trophy and is rumored to use DDR2 memory to improve overall speed. The tipster makes not of what appears to be an IMEI number on the phone which could mean the Mazaa has GSM capabilities. Could Sprint be poised to launch a Windows Phone 7 world phone?

LG Working On E700 Windows Phone 7 Handset


Earlier today we got a look at the HTC Mazaa, which should be an upcoming Windows Phone 7 design, likely running hardware meeting the latest Chassis specs Microsoft's released. You can add to that short list of future WP7 devices we know about a new LG model, known to us only as the LG E700.

The E700 has revealed itself through an Open Mobile Alliance device profile, giving us a very basic overview of the smartphone. The big reveal here comes from the phone's browser data, identified as "LGE/Microsoft/IE9". While it's not a slam-dunk, it's likely that the inclusion of IE9 means we'll be seeing the phone arrive running Mango.

Windows Phone 7 Will Restrict Background Processes in Mango


The era of true multitasking is about to begin for Windows Phone 7 just as soon as the Mango update is released later this year (or a bit later). As you might recall, one of the big problems with legacy Windows Mobile was that background apps had free reign to consume CPU cycles and RAM without your knowing, thus causing device slowness and instability, plus harming battery life. In Windows Phone 7, apps that are running in the background that wish to continue running will be restricted to use 10% of the CPU power and just 5MB of RAM. Not only that, but certain apps will only be able to run for 15 seconds in the background every half hour, allowing them to sync data (in the case of a social networking app, for example).

Latest WP7 specs include 2nd gen Snapdragon & optional gyro


Back to MIX, Istvan Cseri (Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft) revealed the new Windows Phone 7 chassis that OEM's can use to build handsets which is to be released in the coming months.

Observing the image above, we can see the Qualcomm MSM7X30 and MSM8X55 (800MHz) are included in the platform requirements and both feature the Adreno 205 GPU. Gyroscope sensor addition is optional and manufactures will be able to use multiple combinations of memory, gyroscope support and SoC as long as they don't go below current specification requirements. Screen resolution is kept at 800x480 (WVGA).

Mango to bring Marketplace options and ratings


One more tid bit from MIX11 for the day. Mango is expected to bring a few more options to Windows Phone 7 developers with regards to distribution options and will require game ratings.

Private Betas and Private Apps will join the Public Distribution options for developers. Private Betas will not require certification but will require user registration by the developer by way of the user's Windows Live ID (limited to 100). Private Betas will have a life cycle of 90 days and should help developers iron out all the bugs before releasing the app for Public Distribution.

Microsoft Embraces Patience In Updating Windows Phone 7

Microsoft promised an update to Windows Phone 7 which would land "early 2011" and would bring features to smartphones that would cover inital lacks out of the box, like Copy and Paste.

The update has started rolling out but some carrier-branded smartphones are still not being delivered the platform refresh. While talking updates, Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President, Windows Phone Program Management, speaking in Las Vegas, said Microsoft "expected it to be earlier than now".

Developers to Get Early Access to Windows Phone 7 Mango


After all the great news involving Windows Phone 7 and developers, Microsoft Director for Windows Phone 7, Brandon Watson, stated that developers will be able to get early hands on the platform refresh.

On a Channel 9 Live interview, later confirmed by the above tweet, Watson said that Microsoft is committed to offering developers early access to Windows Phone 7 Mango. This could nicely fall into place with previous rumors we've heard about OEMs and carriers getting early access to Mango code around early fall.

Windows Phone adds multitasking, deeper OS integration, and sensor access to dev platform


We knew it was coming, and today at MIX 11, Microsoft showed off its developer platform for the next version of Windows Phone, which developers will be able to get their hands on for free in May. The new application platform adds:
•Multitasking for background processing, audio and file transfer, and fast app switching, including background audio playback for HTML5 webpages
•Deeper integration of apps into the OS, allowing programs to leverage Live Tiles, including push notifications via Live Agents running in the background
•Raw access to the camera and sensors (gyro and compass) via the Motion Sensor library, letting apps to control device hardware

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Microsoft warns against homebrew on Windows Phone 7

Makes you go blind

Software giant Microsoft has warned against using "homebrew solutions" to force an upgrade for Windows Phone 7 devices. Writing in his blog, Eric Hautala said that as an engineer and a gadget lover, he totally understood the impulse to tinker, but in this case his strong advice was to wait.

Microsoft is currently rolling out an upgrade to Windows Phone 7 devices that will bring features like cut and paste functionality. The two-part update started in late March. The first one updates the device registry, while the second update adds the meatier features like cut and paste, improved marketplace search, a fix for increased data consumption related to Yahoo Mail, and different background images while connected to Wi-Fi.

Gartner Estimates Windows Phone 7 to be #2 in Market Share By 2015


Android estimated to hit near 50 percent; meanwhile, HTC passes Nokia in market cap

Gartner, Inc., one of the world's most respectable market research firms, has announced [press release] that its research supports our hypothesis that Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows Phone 7 smartphone OS will become the market's second largest player when the phase-out of Nokia Oyj.'s (NOK) Symbian OS is complete.