Saturday, November 5, 2011

Microsoft loosens hardware requirements and camera now optional


It would appear that Microsoft has relaxed their hardware requirements (on September 23rd) to exclude the camera as a necessity. This would allow lower-end handsets to be brought out at a more affordable price, something we know Nokia wish to do. In fact, these changes are already here. We already know the Lumia 800 has neither a front facing camera nor gyro and the HTC Radar has no compass or gyro on board.

Check out the revised hardware requirements below:

Nokia Drive hacked, takes trip abroad to rival Windows Phones


While we knew that Nokia Maps would be arriving on the full range of Windows Phone devices, Nokia indicated that its Drive voice navigation feature would stay an Espoo hardware exclusive. Alas, it seems that enthusiastic WinPho meddlers had other ideas, already managing to transplant the Lumia series' voice navigation functionality to Samsung's Omnia 7 -- and presumably any other handsets they'd like. No video proof's been unearthed just yet, but it looks like Nokia's first foray into a shared OS may require a tougher software lock-down.

Metro bus? Metro UI!


Everyone keeps pleading with Microsoft to advertise and push Windows Phone. Well, it looks like it is starting to happen (and we'll see more Monday). This shot was taken by Josh in downtown Bellevue, about a half mile from the Microsoft Store.

Not a bad idea for a metro bus we suppose. And it sure is eye-catching. Thanks Josh for the pic!

Samsung Focus S confirmed to have no microSD expansion


We were recently able to confirm the Samsung Focus S only came with 16 GB of storage, but questions still remained about the presence of expandable storage via a microSD card, a feature of the original Samsung Focus.

Documentation and pictures on AT&T’s support website however confirms the absence of any expansion, meaning users are limited to 16 GB of storage after all.

There are still rumours of a 32 GB version, but that is unfortunately likely only wistful thinking.

Nokia Lumia Windows Phones feature Corning Gorilla Glass


The Nokia Lumia 800 follows suit of the N9 in more ways than one and the glass is no different. The first two Windows Phones from Nokia feature Corning Gorilla Glass, both the 710 and 800. The manufacturer has a long track record in using this glass technology to improve the toughness of the screen. So to recap for the Lumia 800, we have AMOLED, curved glass and Gorilla toughened glass being implemented. The 800 should be fairly resilient when it comes to being flung across a room in rage, or accidentally dropped while out and about. Check out our product review for a walk through.

Though this is interesting news, it's nothing new for Windows Phone. HTC have a number of devices using Gorilla Glass, as well as the Dell Venue Pro and even some LG handsets.


Microsoft-approved Windows Phone 7 unlocker goes live


Let the great Windows Phone 7 unlocking begin! ChevronWP7, the Microsoft-sanctioned Windows Phone unlocker, went live today. The project is aimed at "hobbyist developers," giving owners of WP7 handsets the ability to run and test unsigned apps on their phones. Interested parties need a Windows Live ID and $9 to sign up -- that price'll give you unlimited unlocks on a single phone. You can grab more info and an unlock token at the source link below.

Microsoft readies developer phones for distribution


One thing Microsoft definitely excels in is developer relations. And getting phones into the hands of would-be devs is a key component for getting more interest and apps on our platform.

From the pic above, we can see Microsoft getting ready to send some more out to those who need 'em. You have to love that kind of support. Plus with Nokia's pledge of 25,000 dev phones, we think we may have this area cornered.

Nokia promises tethering for Lumia 800, points finger of blame at FCC


Nokia's mission to reclaim smartphone competitiveness with its Windows Phone clan isn't over. We may have bemoaned the lack of data tethering in our Lumia 800 review, but it appears the Finnish phone titan has already announced that it will be coming to its Mango-flavored handsets. The apparent reason behind the inability of its flagship Windows Phone to share its data connectivity at launch was due to the FCC's stringent requirements.

Nokia Teams Up With ST Ericsson For Future Windows Phones


ST Ericsson today announced its official partnership with Nokia. In the light of the agreement, ST-Ericsson is now selected as a supplier for future devices Nokia plans to introduce with Windows Phone at its core.

Back in may we heard that ST Ericsson dual-core chips might be powering Nokia Windows Phones at one moment in time. We've also heard with that occasion that there are 12 devices planned for 2012 and they might be powered by future versions of the U8500 chip, which is a dual core one. Gilles Delfassy, president and CEO of ST-Ericsson said that "NovaThor platforms continue to gain traction as they enable customers to bring great smartphones to the market".