Saturday, May 28, 2011

Microsoft NL About WP7 Mango Coming Mid-October, Dual-Cores


Maarten Sonneveld, aka "Mr. Windows Phone, Microsoft Netherlands' Mobile Communications Business Group Lead", has talked to NieuweMobiel about Windows Phone 7 Mango, among other things.

According to Sonneveld, the next big platform refresh out of Redmond's labs, can be expected to hit roughly around mid-October, which is kind of a bit off from Microsoft's press release telling us about "early autumn". Dutch language support will be included in the menus, software input (and autocorrection) but not for voice recognition -- as in Dictation support.

Microsoft: More Expensive WP7 Apps, Nokia Wants Own Marketplace


"I'd rather developers sell fewer than a million downloads and get to a million dollars," said Brandon Watson, Director of Developer Experience for Windows Phone 7 with Microsoft at a press briefing in Helsinki. Instead of the free and $0.99 model other app stores apply, Redmond will support higher prices on mobile-phone applications.

"If we can support a higher price point that’s good for developers", he continued. Microsoft wanted to differentiate the Windows Phone Marketplace from the very beginning and is continuously trying to better other platforms' app stores by offering quality instead of quantity. This can't always be controlled and every app store will have plenty of "useless" apps; trying to keep the number as low as possible can be done though.

Windows Phone designer cheat sheet [Developers]


Should you be new to Windows Phone Metro UI development, coming from either Android or iOS for example, then this well worth checking out. Teppo Kotirinta, Principal Designer at Nordkapp, has just published an article on their blog announcing their designer cheat sheet.

This image which can be printed off or downloaded and opened on a 50" TV and will guide you through each illustration detailing what each screen contains and how the structure and design should be developed for effective deployment. Included are dimensions for live tiles, hex codes for all the WP7 themes and more. It really is a 101 for designing perfect Metro apps without the 1,000 pages worth of reading required.

OccasionalGamer's Elbert Perez brings in nearly $30K in game dev for WP7


We're not here to judge whether this number is good or bad, but Elbert Perez, who has no less than 12 games on Windows Phone (e.g. Quadra, Impossible Shoota, Nom Nom Worm, Steam Castle, etc.), just posted how much he's brought in so far. See his site here.

Now, a few things to remember abou Perez: he's basically one guy (indie) doing all the developing, which is quite impressive and his games are all free with ad support. It was five months ago he switched from paid games at about $0.99 to making them all free with ads. So is $30k in ad money pretty good? We think it's not bad but it obviously shows that the Windows Phone platform needs to grow in order for him to continue to make and increase revenue.

In many ways for developer's, Perez's model of game development and distribution should be a source of inspiration. We recommend checking out his "Going Full Time Indie" piece on what it's like to not work for a big studio.


How Many New Windows Phone 7 Mango Features Are We Up To?


Eighty-nine down, a whole lot more to go! When Steve Ballmer brought up the claim that Windows Phone 7 Mango would be bringing in excess of five hundred new features to the operating system, it seemed more like hyperbole than anything. But once we started watching Microsoft's presentation at Tuesday's New York City event, it became hard to deny: there is a LOT of new stuff coming to Mango. Now, we've talked about some of the more impressive changes that are in store, and lamented about some that won't make the cut, but when it comes down to it, we've just scraped the tip of the iceberg.

The obsessive minds over at anythingbutiphone have been taking meticulous notes about what Microsoft has revealed about Mango, not just at this most recent event, but in all the teasers leading up to it.

Windows Phone Mango Tethering Fate in the Hands of Carriers?


We were worried (actually complaining) about Windows Phone Mango and how it still misses tethering support when more and more people are looking at this feature as a must.

On the Windows Phone Developer Blog, Matt Bencke from Microsoft answered a worried reader's comment as follows: "Tethering, in the past was something that we managed independently of the Mobile Operators (e.g. AT&T, Orange, Verizon). In recent years, the Mobile Operators have now taken ownership of this functionality x-all platforms (e.g. our competitors as well as us). We are continually working with them and our OEM partners to enable this functionality for our devices, but at this time there isn't an announcement that we've made in regards to rolling out this feature. Stay Tuned!"

Mango Bringing Windows Phone Marketplace To The Web


One of the things that Google got really right with the Android Market is the full-featured web presence the store maintains. Even if you're nowhere near your smartphone, you can easily browse, purchase, and send apps to your phone, without the need for any special software on the PC. Microsoft appears to have taken note, as the company has revealed that one of the many changes coming to its Windows Phone 7 platform with the release of Mango will be the addition of a web-based Windows Phone Marketplace.

The Marketplace will complement existing WP7 app discovery tools like Bing's Visual Search, but upon its launch, those search results will direct you to the app's page in the new Marketplace. Much of the functionality will duplicate what you see in the Zune software currently, but there will also be extra room for expanded features, like additional featured, promoted apps.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Nokia's Windows Phones to sport dual-core ST-Ericsson U8500


We know Qualcomm is currently the only chipset provider for Windows Phone, having invest a lot of time and money to port over their hardware. In fact, even their next gen processors are geared up for Windows Phone 7.5 devices, coming this fall. Still, that's not stopping some companies, including ST-Ericsson from attempting to break that monopoly.

Specifically, in an interview with Forbes, Carlo Bozotti, the Chief Executive of European semiconductor maker STMicroelectronics spilled the beans on a couple of interesting tidbits:

Nokia WP7 phones coming to Russian retailer in 2011?


In a recent interview, Nokia bigwig, Stephen Elop, said that it is "possible" that we may see the first Nokia-branded WP7 phones this year. And even though Elop and other Nokia execs are gunshy about committing to that possibility, the head of Russian mobile giant Sviaznoj, Denis Liudkovski, is offering up a little more certainty. Nokia and Sviaznoj are in discussions on a possible deal that would create Nokia "shop-in-shop" outlets within the Russian retailer's stores, and after the meeting Liudkovski had this to say:

“We are the key Nokia partner in Russia. Thanks’ to the cooperation agreements on the “shop-in-shop” format, all the newest models show up at Sviaznoj earlier then in competing outlets…. We expect that the first Windows Mobile based Nokia smartphone will show up in our stores before the end of 2011”

1.6 million WP7 devices sold in Q1 2011 says Gartner


Here we go again folks, more analyst news! This time it's Gartner's turn with an interesting (and exciting) number of reported sales for WP7 in the first quarter of this year. If this number is true (or somewhat accurate) then this will turn skeptics into believers.

Note that this number doesn't reflect handsets sold to carriers, it shows devices sold to end-users. Interesting to note is that Nokia still head the game with the most market share, but dropping still. A lot is riding on the Nokia + Microsoft partnership, from both parties and these tables display that level of requirement.

Samsung Omnia 7 updates back on


Seems as though everything is back on after we mentioned the patch Samsung released yesturday for their Omnia 7, which addressed the issue with devices not being able to update. Microsoft have confirmed in a blog post that the Samsung Omnia 7 handsets will begin receiving either NoDo or 7392 (dependant on whichever stage you're at) in stages, but unfortunately no word has been said on the Focus.

If you haven't recevied any error on your Omnia 7 with updating to 7392 from NoDo (code: 801812C1) then you will not need to use the Samsung patch, just update as you usually would via Zune or Windows Phone 7 Connector. So, fantastic news all around, right? We'll keep you all up-to-date with anything we receive for Focus handsets.

Windows Phone 7 Mango to Offer Linked Inbox Option


Neowin has found a leaked screenshot of a new feature we haven't heard about yet, that's supposedly (and hopefully) going to appear in this fall's "Mango" update to Windows Phone 7. There's a lot of people who like the "unified inbox" feature on other phones and email clients where you can see all email inboxes from all accounts that you've set up. There's also a lot of people that do not like that. It seems Microsoft has one-upped the unified inbox feature with a "linked inbox" feature which we assume would allow you to actually specify which email accounts you want to see mixed together. This sounds like a great idea since I personally have some email accounts set up on my phone, which I hardly ever care to look at, but maybe there's a couple that would be great to sort through both at the same time.

Microsoft outlines new enterprise features coming to Windows Phone 'Mango'


When Microsoft takes the stage May 24th to preview the next release of Windows Phone, will there be any surprises left for the peanut gallery? In the last week we've seen numerous features announced or leaked, an awfully big coincidence given the timing of next week's event. More cats were let out of their bags today at Microsoft's annual TechEd conference keynote, as several enterprise-related capabilities were shown off that both companies and consumers have sorely missed on their phones.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sony Ericsson still has cold feet about Windows Phone 7


Sony Ericsson, once named as a key partner for Windows Phone 7 and who even had a prototype in the works, still does not have any immediate plans to use Redmond's latest OS in their phones. The one caveat is this: if the OS become big, they will jump in the game.

Speaking at Sony Ericsson’s annual Business Innovations Forum at Stanford recently, Jan Uddenfeldt, chief technology officer and head of Sony Ericsson Silicon Valley gave his latest remarks on Android and Windows Phone.

Walsh update fix tool approved


We've been covering the "Walshed" device situation where attempting to install the May security update failed for many users who used the work around to receive NoDo using the Chevronwp7.updater. A while back Chris posted on his blog that a fix was being approved by Microsoft. This tool has now been released and is available on his blog.

Microsoft's response to post-NoDo 16-bit banding issue


Remember a while back when we covered how some people were (and still are) experiencing issues with colours on their devices after updating to Nodo? We even put in a small work around fix which required unlocking the device, unfortunately. Still, people are (and rightfully so) aggravated that images and especially gradients don't look as good as they once did.

A thread on the Microsoft forums has been slowly accumalating posts, which have been joined by a response from a Moderator and member of technical support

Microsoft stops spying in Windows Phone 7

Not that it ever did

Software giant Microsoft has changed its software on Windows Phone 7 handsets so that it strips identifiers from location software.

Although Redmond insists it never used the data to track users movements, cynics of things Microsoft might say “yeah right”. Writing in his bog. Windows Phone chief Andy Lees said the data Microsoft collected from the smartphones was for identifying local "landmarks" such as Wi-Fi access points and mobile base stations.

The secret behind Windows Phone code names


In a live Webcast today hosted by ZDNet, Mary Jo Foley from All About Microsoft gave an excellent presentation on the 'past, present and future' of Windows Phone, including what she thinks will happen with Windows Phone 8 aka 'Apollo'.

One interesting tidbit that she mentioned was in regards to those code names--specifically that they will all end in 'o' e.g. NoDo, Apollo, etc. Why such an odd requirement? We have no idea, but we can expect more 'o' names as Microsoft churns out more updates over the next few years.

So file that under your technically useless but still interesting Windows Phone news of the day.

Microsoft Explains Its Windows Phone 7 Location Policy

Following up on an April 25, 2011 inquiry from the House of Representatives, Andy Lees, Microsoft President of Mobile Communications Business addressed a letter in response outlining the basic principles of Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 location Policy. As a reminder, the worldwide community got really sentimental about Apple's handling location data – now fixed – and Android doing so as well.

In his letter, Andy Lees tells everyone about the four principles that sets Windows Phone 7 aside from the other platform, location handling-wise. First of all, with Windows Phone 7, users get the opportunity to expressly allow or disallow location services. The choice is both at the application level as well as system wide, with options to allow/disallow a certain bit of software to access location data or allow/disallow for the whole device.

Analyst: WP7 to beat Android by 2013, not 2015


Not so long ago we wrote up how an analyst predicted the Windows Phone platform to overtake Android by 2015 as the number one smartphone operating system. Now that same analyst, Pyramid Research's Senior Analyst and Practice Leader for Mobile Devices, Stela Bokun, has stated that her findings were misinterpreted and the platform is actually set to take the market by storm in 2013. If that's not wishful thinking then it's an incredible prediction.

But is it far-fetched? A fast exploding Windows Phone might not be such a crazy idea in two years time.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Microsoft MVP offering advice for aspiring Windows Phone developers


Have an app but need some tips? Or have an idea for an app but not sure where to start? Want some helps on marketing the app to the masses? Well, evidently Arian Kulp, who's a Visual C# Microsoft MVP is offering his assistance to anyone who wants it:

...As part of Microsoft’s current push to get lots of apps into the Windows Phone Marketplace, I’m offering assistance to people struggling with polishing up their apps. If you feel like you’re almost there and just need that last push, or are struggling with a given concept, contact me so I can help you. I’ll also let you know about great contests and drawings currently running to potentially get a free phone, marketplace fee refund, or free advertising for your app. All I ask is that you use my event code when you enter the drawing so I get credit for helping you.

The Harvest is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week. That's more like it!


Guitar Hero 5 sales not exciting enough for you? Here’s an Xbox Live Deal of the Week we can really sink our teeth into: The Harvest is going on sale for $4.99, down from $6.99.

The Harvest is an action-RPG set in a distant future in which aliens have conquered humanity. Thanks to the development of armored mech suits, the remaining pockets of humans finally have a chance to fight back. Our review praises the game’s beautiful 3D graphics, easy controls, multiple playable characters, and diversity of upgrade options.

Verizon Trophy spotted at Best Buy


Well, sorta.

We know that the HTC Trophy will eventually land on the Verizon Network with the latest target date being May 12th. Some consumers are seeing signs that this date might hold true in that "dummy" or display models of the Windows Phones are popping up at the local Best Buy stores.

Based on the photos that are circulating, there is still no pricing information set for the Trophy. The good thing is that the 12th isn't far away and we won't have to wait too long to see if it holds true.

Microsoft announces cross-platform Azure toolkit


Microsoft has announced today tool kits for their Windows Azure cloud that are available for both the iPhone and Windows phone, with a preview for Android.

The tool kits will allow developers to create applications across the major platforms on the Azure cloud and companies like Groupon are already taking full advantage of the "cloud-to-mobile" user experience. Not to mention the simplicity in supporting multiple devices with common requirements, such as; device notifications, authentication and storage.

Microsoft's next major release of Windows Phone will be previewed on May 24th, and we'll be there live!


Been jonesing for more news about Microsoft's upcoming Mango OS update? So have we, and now all of us, VIPs and commoners alike, can circle the 24th of May as the date when Redmond will dish the full details of its next major software release. Notably, the mango(ish)-colored invite makes no mention of Windows Phone 7 anywhere, leading us to suspect that Microsoft will likely upgrade its mobile nomenclature as well as feature set. We'll be there whatever happens, liveblogging the full preview event and keeping an eye out for launch details for this fruity new OS.

WP7 Mango Also Brings People Hub Messenger, Asian Support


We've heard about the newly uncovered five awesome features coming to Windows Phone 7 with the Mango update earlier today but the features keep leaking in and we've got a feeling nobody will complain about them.

We already know that Mango will add support for Asian languages and the images posted on Cnblogs -- pulled but saved by Liveside -- prove it. Additionally, besides Twitter integration Steve Ballmer talked about at MWC, we now get more sense of the Windows Live Messenger integration in same People hub, which will allow you to send an IM to someone straight from the hub.

Microsoft Re-Updates WP7 Application Certification Requirements


In order to keep up with the development of the platform as well as to help developers publish their applications more easily, Microsoft has updated the Windows Phone 7 Application Certification Requirements -- pretty much the same way they did back in October.

The recent changes bring significant improvements meaning the requirements got clearer (several content policy and technical requirements have been clarified), contain in-house-like test steps to improve overall pass rates, and became more usable by becoming integrated with core developer documentation on MSDN.

AT&T: WP7 Doing Fine, HTC HD7S Last WP7 Device Before Mango


Jeff Bradley, senior vice president of mobile devices at AT&T, recently acted confident and said Windows Phone 7 was "doing fine" on the carrier while talking about future plans for Android and Windows Phone smartphones.

The HTC HD7S AT&T introduced at the end of March will be arriving soon to the carrier's line-up, joining the HTC Surround, Samsung Focus and LG Quantum.

"Mango will be the next event. With the timing of when came out and the timing of Mango, it didn't leave a natural period in between when we could introduce an interim round of devices.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Win Phone 7 owners told to stick to official updates


If you updated your Windows Phone 7 device outside of Microsoft's official channels, you won't be able to use the mobile platform's latest version.

That's according to Microsoft's Brandon Watson, who wrote about the issue on the company's developer blog yesterday. Anyone who updated their Windows Phone 7 devices to build 7390 via "unofficial mechanisms" will be unable to complete the update to the company's latest build, 7392, he wrote.

Microsoft gives an explanation for yesterday's Marketplace outage


As many of you probably remember, the Windows Phone Marketplace was down for a quite a few hours yesterday, resulting in an error message ‘Can't get this info right now. Check back in a little while.’, It was quite frustrating for a lot of us, but alas, these things happen. Microsoft quickly caught wind of the downage and claimed to be working on it and sure enough, within a few hours everything was peachy.

The odd part, confirmed by Chris Walsh of Chevron, was that it only had an effect on NoDo devices.

Microsoft Validating Fix Made By Chevron To Fix Stuck Phones


Microsoft is allegedly working on validating a fix, according to a tweet, for Windows Phones that are stuck and can't receive new updated due to the ChevronWP7.Updater used to force the update to NoDo.

To refresh your memory, Chris Walsh of the Chevron Team wrote a custom homebrew updater which helped install the latest ROM to Windows Phones. Following that, Microsoft seriously warned about using this method and Chris Walsh pulled the ChevronWP7.Updater with Microsoft officially explaining the risks of using it.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Marketplace down for NoDo phones; outage worldwide?


Users around the globe are reporting, and we have confirmed, that the Windows Phone Marketplace is unavailable. It's been hours now, and users from the US to the UK are unable to download apps or update apps that are already installed. Early on it was believed that all users were affected equally, but many people are reporting that it only applies to NoDo phones (version 7930 and above). The outage also appears to apply to Zune Pass.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May Security Update Released for WP7 [Updated--up to the carriers]


Looks like the planned May update is being rolled out, version 7.0.7392.0. This update addresses the fraudulent third-party digital certificates that could lead to potential phishing attacks or intercept web browser connections (man-in-the-middle). The update simply moves these certificates into the "Untrusted Publishers" certificate storage on your device.

More information on the update is available over on the update history page. Have you received the update notification yet?

Updated: According to Microsoft, this update is at the discretion of carriers, again, meaning some of us may not see this until it is tied with another, future update: "How you get 7392 depends on your mobile operator and what updates you’ve installed...If you’ve already installed the March update, you’ll receive 7392 as a standalone download or bundled with a future update."


Microsoft details NoDo-update issues on Samung Focus, Omnia 7


The Windows Phone Blog has been updated again to give details on a few lingering issues users may be facing, the HTC Surround NoDo update and Deutsche Telekom (which we covered yesterday).

For Omnia 7 issues regarding the NoDo update, Microsoft has this to say:

As some of you know, we recently halted delivery of updates to Samsung Omnia 7s after learning of a technical issue that required a new update software package. The new package is nearly ready, and we’re eager to resume updates to this model. Once I have a start date, I’ll let you know.

NoDo Update Hitting the HTC Surround


Good news Surround users!

Seems the time has come for you to receive the much anticipated NoDo update. Microsoft's Where's My Phone Update page has the Surround device set at "Delivering" and our own George Ponder is running through the process as we speak. 'bout time, eh? Have you all received the notification yet, or are you still at the edge of your seats?

SMS Issue on HD7 Caused by NoDo?


There has been discussion on multiple sites surrounding the issue with the HTC HD7 and text messaging, where outgoing messages are failing to send and the irritating "Cannot send message. Try again" alert is constantly popping up. Is this a device issues (possibly caused by NoDo) or is it signal/carrier related?

Hard to tell really, I have experienced this problem numerous times on my Omnia 7 before and after the NoDo update, which is entirely down to signal not being strong enough (anything above one bar will work) - simply holding the device higher up in the air or walking around normally fixes the problem (Three network has very good coverage generally).

Paris Hilton, other celebs with Windows Phones at charity event


Recently, on April 29th, the 18th annual Race to Erase MS gala was held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Century City, California.

In turn, Paris Hilton, Rachel Leigh Cook, Daniel Gillies, Musician Brett Anderson and Cindy Crawford were all there along with Microsoft, who evidently was using the event to promote Windows Phone amongst the celebs.

We're not sure if they we able to keep the HTC HD7s on hand, but from a cursory look on Twitter (yes, we went there), none so far are using for their daily driver.

Microsoft's Big Box of Awesome contest


This competition has been running for a while now and you have the last chance in entering it before the closing date (2nd May 23:59 PDT). So, do you fancy laying your hands on the box of awesome? US only, unfortunately.

It's contents are pretty impressive:

- Samsung Focus
- Samsung Series Notebook
- Windows 7 home Premium
- Microsoft Arc Touch mouse
- Samsung 46" LED TV
- Xbox 360 250GB console with Kinect
- 3 Kinect-enabled games
- Xbox Live 12 month gold membership
- Microsoft Office Professional 2010

Windows Phone Ad Network Options


Ad based app or paid app? That is the question many developers have faced. Do I charge a one time cost for my app or do I hope the user run the app with enough frequency to generate a decent level of ad revenue?

Windows Phone ads pay by impression in that you don't have to click on the ad banner for the developer to receive credit/revenue from that view. The downside is that not everyone likes to see that ad banner regardless of how discrete they are placed. If you choose the ad supported option, there are a few options available and Improvisoft has compiled a listing of their favorites along with rankings (in Jewels).

iPhone apps not so unique: Android, Windows Phone catch up to iOS offerings


Although boasting about the size of one's app store has its place--really it's the quality of the apps that matter and nothing beats those "big titles" that people want and use.

PCWorld has done an interesting analysis of Apple's top 35 apps to see how the other platforms compare. Android, comes the closest, offering all but 3 of the top 35 apps on the iPhone. Their biggest gap of course is in games--something we've pointed out before. Next, however is Windows Phone 7 which offers all but 8 of the top 35--beating out Symbian and Blackberry (guess WebOS wasn't worth looking at). That's not too shabby for the new guy in town who's been in the market a little less than seven months.

Microsoft tool helps devs port iOS apps to WP7

Microsoft is trying to make it easier for iOS developers to bring their creations to its Windows Phone 7 platform.

A newly announced service called the iOS to Windows Phone 7 API mapping tool, acts as an interchange for developers to take applications they've already written for Apple's platform, and figure out ways to get the code work with Microsoft's standards.

"With this tool, iPhone developers can grab their apps, pick out the iOS API calls, and quickly look up the equivalent classes, methods and notification events in WP7," said Jean-Christophe Cimetiere, Microsoft's senior technical evangelist in a blog post announcing the tool.

Microsoft Earnings Report Excludes Windows Phone 7


Microsoft recently reported their quarterly earnings. The results were generally good for their Xbox and Office divisions, but for Windows, the company saw declining sales. Strangely, Windows Phone 7 got no more than a passing mention in the conference call. For Microsoft, Windows Phone 7 is a long-term business opportunity, and it has yet to break even. It took the Xbox division over six years to become profitable thanks to extremely high research and development costs, and other expenses relating to keeping the business viable.

Nodo OneNote Bug?


The Windows Phone Nodo Update may have created a image scaling bug with OneNote. Images look clean and crisp when viewed from a computer but after being synced to OneNote, the note becomes distorted, washed out and pixelated.

It was first suspected that the problem could be an optimization issue to save network traffic but when the notes were emailed and opened via computer, they looked fine.