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All Articles by Phil Nickinson

It looks like things are picking up on the development front with regards to Windows Phone 7 Series. Appcelerator, a company that makes cross platform development tools for mobile systems, recently polled developers on WP7S.

Appcelerator polled 1,028 developers in January to see what operating systems they were interested in developing for. In January 13% expressed an interest in Windows Phone development. The same group was polled gain in March and the good news is that interest in Windows Phone development almost tripled, increasing to 34%.

The bad news is that the Windows Phone is still trailing behind Apple, Android, and RIM systems.

Still the news is encouraging. The March poll was conducted on the heels of the MIX10 Conference where developers learned more about WP7S development. Microsoft has recently released a Developer Training Kit which will increase the exposure of WP7S and might boost these numbers further.  You can find the full survey report here.

[via: wmpoweruser.com]

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Praise the lord and pass the ammunition (hey, that's what they say in these here parts) -- Microsoft has dropped the "Series" and is now just going with "Windows Phone 7" as the branding for its reboot of Windows Mobile.

Now don't get us wrong -- that's a good thing. But it's something that Microsoft never should have had to do and is an obvious misstep in what needs to be a flawless campaign for the rebirth of its mobile brand. Now we're curious about the trickle-down effect: How much rebranding will have to be done -- commercials and the like -- and how will affect Microsoft's roll-out strategy.

Either way, Windows Phone 7 Series is one mouthful we're more than happy to get rid of. [Twitter]

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For those curious, the Zune connector i.e. the sync/charge interface cable from the Microsoft Zune series, won't be used at all with Windows Phone 7 Series devices.

That's the good news, since said Zune connector is a little large and more than a little proprietary.

The bad news is that the WP7s chassis specifications don't require any specific sync/charge format, meaning OEMs who make our next-gen phones are free to use Mini-USB, Micro-USB or even their own proprietary format.

Now we hope OEMs have learned their lesson in regards to that last one, so we don't think we'll see many of those. Still, for those wanting a definitive decision with regards to Micro or Mini USB ... looks like Microsoft is going to let the old free market decide. [via Windows Phone Secrets]

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5

Turn the HD2 into a metal detector

One of the many creative minds over at XDA Developers may has come up with a way to turn your HTC HD2 into a metal detector. XDA member 6Fg8 has created an application, Metal Detector 0.2.0.0, that works under the premises that the built in compass on the HD2 relies on the earth's magnetic field to calculate the deviation from magnetic north. If you put a piece of metal near the compass, it deviates from the natural deviation.

There are still a few bugs to work out in the application but for the most part, it performs as advertised. Yet somehow I don't see scanning the beach with an HD2 looking for buried treasure.  However, if that screw you dropped blends in too well with the carpet, this application might be of some use. [via 1800pocketpc.com]

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Update: Added video above. Level of skepticism still fairly high.

Microsoft has said that the HTC HD2 won't be getting an official upgrade to Windows Phone 7 Series, but that's never stopped anybody before, has it? Tom at HTCPedia says he's got the WP7S Metro UI running on the HD2, and most of the big bells and whistles are up and running, including WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth. There are issues with the graphics drivers, he says, causing some lag.

Let's hope we see some video from boot to actual use pretty soon, to help shore up this one a bit, cause we all know how easy it is to be duped by pics. And speaking of pics, there are a few more after the break. [HTCPedia via Redmond Pie]

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Once a year or so we get another look at a Windows Mobile satellite phone, and such is the case with the TerreStar Genus, billed as the world's first smartphone with 3G and satellite capability. Unfortunately there's no hand-off directly from 3G to satellite, so you effectively have to throw a switch from one to the other.

But is that really something we worry about? Heck, no! It's a feakin' Windows Mobile 6.5.3 satellite phone! It's running the 850/900/1800/1900MHz bands, so you'll be rocking it on AT&T. It sports a 2.6-inch 320x240 QVGA touchscreen, 100MB of "end-user memory," a 1400 mAh battery, H.264 video playback, a 3MP camera, microUSB, microSD, GPS, WiFi b/g, USB 2.0 (Class 2 only, though) and ... oh, yeah, it talks to satellites.

Not exactly the sort of thing we expect to be using, but if you're up in, say, Alaska, you're gonna want one of these babies.

More pics and hands-on video at CTIA after the break.

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So we all know the brew-ha caused a few weeks ago with Skype pulling support for Windows Mobile. They basically said that the application was not good enough and paled compared to the iPhone.

Fair enough.

Then came word about Verizon striking an exclusive deal with Skype, which went into effect today for certain BlackBerry's and Android devices. People did the math and figured the Verizon deal must have had something to do with it and sure enough, we heard this quote from Verizon recently on PhoneNews:

The fact that we’ve partnered with Verizon and the fact that we’re withdrawing these apps are related only to the extent that they’re part of our drive towards a better Skype mobile experience. What we’ve announced is that we’re withdrawing the Windows Mobile and Lite apps from our website. If you already have one of them, you’ll be able to carry on using it.

Now a tipster at our sister site, PreCentral, has sent an internal memo (see above) regarding today's launch. At the bottom it mentions:

Stay tuned for more detail in the near future about Skype Mobile on more Smartphones and platforms such as BREW, WinMo and Palm.

So it sure sounds like, at least on Verizon, Skype will be coming back. None of this should be surprising in the least, but it's nice to have more confirmation. Plus, last we checked, WinMo carrier-exclusive programs don't stay exclusive for very long...

[via PreCentral]

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We've only seen Windows Mobile 6.5.3 officially on a handful of handsets. Now hows about on a 7-inch tablet? Enter the Mangrove 7 from C-motech, which we spied this week at CTIA in Las Vegas.

Windows Mobile 6.5.3 is Windows Mobile 6.5.3. And if you're used to Titanium (and clearly as you'll see in the video, I've been using Sense), then you'll be used to it here, for better or for worse. The OS looks like it's just slapped atop a larger screen, with no customizations. The photo gallery hardly uses the massive screen real estate, and the on-screen keyboard is -- and we're putting this kindly -- laughable, at best. (We're really not being mean ... Just watch the video.)

As for specs, the 7-inch screen is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor ... which is severely hobbled by the fact that there's only 512MB of ROM and a very meager 256MB of RAM on board. The RAM's a killer.

Anyhoo, it's great to see Windows Mobile 6.5.3 on a tablet of this size, and it was a pleasant surprise at CTIA. It's just a shame that it appears to have been done on the cheap, and it's not like you're going to see this in stores anytime soon. Check out the video after the break.

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For those who use Foursquare, that social network app that pre-dates Google's Buzz and lets you share your location with others, you'll be pleased to see what they have in the works for Windows Phone 7.

Demo shots were shown off by Windows Phone Senior Product Manager Anand Iyer on his blog recently.

While we have a decent version already for Windows Mobile 6.x, this new version for WP7s certainly looks very smooth and minimalist. In addition, there are two new features that as TechCrunch points out, not even the revamped iPhone version has: "Society" area and 'Directions'.

The former shows a "heat map" of the immediate area, which is a representation of the most popular spots in your locale. We suppose this is great for finding where everybody be at, as this kids would say.

The other feature, directions, is just that: once you find where your friends are, you can get directions to that spot within the app itself, instead of hopping into Bing or Google Maps (we won't even touch the multi-tasking issue).

One thing looks certain, with companies like Netflix, Twikini, the Associated Press, EA mobile, IMDB, Weatherbug, Pandora, Photobucket, Sling Media, Seesmic, SPB and now Foursquare, WP7s should have the basics ready to go on launch.

[TechCrunch via Rene Ritchie]

     

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Microsoft updates My Phone

Microsoft has recently updated its My Phone service. The new version is 1.06.22718.01.  What's in the update? So far nothing stands out and the update is listed as "fixes and enhancements based on your feedback."

The next time you sync your Windows Phone with My Phone you will be prompted for the update. Once you download and install the update, soft reset your phone, and you'll be back in business.

Don't have My Phone yet? Simply point your Windows Phone browser to myphone.microsoft.com/install to download and install the application to your phone. Full official release after the break.

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After teasing us with a leaked .cab in February, Slacker Radio has been officially launched for Windows Mobile 6.5 devices. The Slacker Mobile application is "optimized" specifically for the HTC HD2 and is launched in conjunction with the release of the HD2 on T-Mobile. Slacker should work on other 6.5 phones with WVGA (800x480) screens; those specifically listed are the HTC Imagio, HTC Pure, HTC Tilt 2, LG eXpo and the Samsung Omnia II.

Slacker Radio for Windows Mobile provides access to your Slacker Radio account (Free or Premium), over 100 stations, the ability to create your own stations, and various information about the current track and artist. To give it a try point your mobile browser to m.slacker.com. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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The T-Mobile HD2 is finally available today for $199 on contract, and we got our hands on it Tuesday at CTIA. Obviously the star of the show is the hardware, but you've already seen that from our hands-on and full review of the European version.

T-Mobile has loaded its version with a major video partner -- namely with the Blockbuster app. You can download or stream movies at will. And speaking of movies, Transformers 1 and 2 come preloaded on the HD2. And, really, watching Megan Fox on an HD2 is a small price to pay for a two-year contact, don'tcha think?

Check out our video hands-on after the break.

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For those of you on Sprint with a Touch Pro 2 who haven't gone the custom ROM route, the Windows Mobile 6.5 update -- at long last! -- is finally here.

The official rundown of features is:

  • Upgraded OS to Windows Mobile 6.5
  • Added HTC Sense UI enhancements
  • Improved Social Networking integration
  • Includes a variety of minor bug fixes

Our big question: Are we talking Sense 2.5 (as in the HD2 ROM) or what?

As usual when flashing ROMs, be sure to have a battery charge of over 50 percent, and be sure to read all of the instructions. Then report back what you find! [HTC | Download link ] Thanks, Joe!

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Late last night, HTC took the time to release an official statement in response to the Apple lawsuit recently filed.

Sounding a bit like an old Family Guy episode, HTC respectively disagrees with Apple's claim that it has infringed on its patents:

“HTC disagrees with Apple’s actions and will fully defend itself. HTC strongly advocates intellectual property protection and will continue to respect other innovators and their technologies as we have always done, but we will continue to embrace competition through our own innovation as a healthy way for consumers to get the best mobile experience possible,” said Peter Chou, chief executive officer, HTC Corporation. 

Of course HTC was not going to address the content of the claim specifically (save that for the courts) nor were they going to go "ya got us!" either, so in a lot of ways, this is no news.

Still, after rehashing their admittedly impressive track record of innovation in the smartphone business, this is just the beginning of the ordeal and we're sure it'll get more interesting in a few months.

Anyone ready to see Phil reporting from outside a court room? Full press release after the jump.

[via AndroidCentral]

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Windows Phone 7 Series Promo Video

A new promotional video has surfaced on the internet for Windows Phone 7 Series.  It highlights the "life maximizing" capabilities of the new mobile operating system from Microsoft.  istartedsomething.com has the minute long video and it's likely only a matter of time before the video is diced up into thirty second, ready for prime time spots.

One has to wonder if the actors got to keep the phones after the shoot.

Update: Check out the video after the break.

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Twikini has long been one of our favorite Windows Mobile Twitter clients, and it's already getting the ball rolling for Windows Phone 7 Series. Developer Trinket Software has teamed up with Mist Labs (and our old pal Mel!) for the new project, and we must say, they're following the right people, if the screen shot above is any indication. More screen shots after the break. [Mist Labs]

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