Windows Phone News

So even though Verizon was listed as a launch-partner for Windows Phone 7 back in February at Mobile World Congress, a rumor is now going around that they won't be carrying any devices featuring Redmond's new OS. Why?

A few days ago, BGR revealed what is suppose to be Verizon's road map for device launches for 2010/2011. It was chock full of Android and LTE information but there was zero mention of any Windows Phone 7 devices--not even the HTC Spark_W. (Dun dun dun)

Forget about the fact that BGR's Verizon roadmap also omits the following, according to MediaBistro

  • There is no mention of the iPhone being sold by Verizon in 2011
  • There is no mention of any Microsoft Windows Phone 7 based smartphones
  • There is no mention of any BlackBerry devices
  • There is no mention of any webOS based tablets from HP

...the notion is that Verizon is dropping everyone and just going 100% Android? While we have no doubts Verizon is doing a big push with Google, we find it hard to believe that they have no use for RIM's Blackberry anymore, let alone Windows Phone 7.

However, there is this quote from Engadget on June 30th talking about Verizon and the KIN:

Our source says that the fallout from this troubled partnership is that Microsoft has backed away from Verizon as a Windows Phone 7 launch partner, claiming that the first handsets you see won't be offered on the CDMA carrier -- rather that we should expect GSM partners to get first crack.

In this case, the tables are reversed with Microsoft being the one to back away from Verizon, partially due to their poor handling of the KIN (e.g. jacking up the cost on the data plan).

Our thoughts? Sure, anything is possible. Verizon is clearly in love with Android, but their "roadmap" seems incomplete to our eyes. We also think that sales make the deal and if Windows Phone 7 does well, Microsoft and Verizon will warm up to each other and work out their differences. After all, not everyone was thrilled with Android either. Finally, the lack of evidence doesn't mean we can just fill in the blanks with our own speculation. Lets wait and see what happens, eh?

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Not much is known or evidently can be said about this device, but it appears Samsung is tossing around another prototype device featuring Windows Phone 7.

Perhaps it's the Cetus (SGH-i917)?

Though rather large and blocky, the device seems to feature, unsurprisingly, an AMOLED screen. Due to the Twitter's location, we're betting this isn't necessarily a device for the U.S., but who knows what Samsung has up their sleeve.

Our overall reaction: meh

[via @andrejt; pic]

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It only recently we were talking about how the number of developer devices in the wild for Windows Phone 7 was just eeking past 3,000.

While seemingly impressive, it was a drop in the bucket compared to the number of developers who need a device.

Well, if the latest Facebook registration numbers are to be believed, that number has doubled and is now at roughly 6,483--pretty impressive. How high will it go? We have no idea, but at least we know Microsoft is trying to seed these devices as quickly as possible.

Edit: Or as Matthew Miller (Nokia Experts) notes in comments, instead of 6.000+ phones, perhaps we're looking at the same 3,000 but in new hands as developer/tech preview units have had to be returned.

[via TheNextWeb]

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Busy if not unexciting day for HTC leaks so far...

First, it appears that those earlier pics of the HTC Schubert were mis-identified. Instead, it seems that it is actually the HTC Mozart, a more low-end WP7 device headed for Telstra  (rumored for T-Mobile too). A few more non-thrilling images are below via Xmoo on Twitter (as evidenced by the low-quality images, he must be using an HTC camera--zing!)

So for those thinking "Is that all HTC's got?", the answer would be "???".

The other info is on the HTC Spark, which is, we're told, basically an HTC HD2 with a smaller screen. The Spark_W was mentioned for Verizon awhile back, but who knows about that anymore.

Feh.

We're still waiting for the big guns from HTC but at least appreciate the fact that Windows Phone 7 will be on a wide-range of devices/price points--well, as wide a range as "black slab" can go at least.

[via WMPU 1,2]

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Want a DIY app maker for Windows Phone 7? Better yet, what is a DIY app maker?

To answer the latter, it's basically a program to write programs that assumes you know nothing about programming. Case in point: Google's Android App Inventor.

On the one hand, it's hella cool, especially if you're like us and know nothing about C#, XNA or Silverlight.

On the other hand, it results in things deemed 'crapps' by our esteemed colleague Phil (see above article).

One twist? We have an approval process in our app store, so more than likely the majority of 'crapps' won't be approved, but once we figure how to 'sideload' you can use your crapp...err app as you see fit and probably even share it.

All of this will soon be made possibly by Jay Desai who is in the middle of writing an app to do just what Google has done--though perhaps not as smooth. As of right now, the app is just a technical preview, yet it still has RSS Feeds, Facebook, Twitter feeds and may add YouTube and Flickr support in the future. This will allow you to write apps that interact with those feeds, making it pretty neat.

Sounds interesting? Try it right here though you'll need a password, since it's still in development: You can request a temp password via Twitter @desaij

Watch the video tutorial after the break.

[via 1800PocketPC]

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We've mentioned ShopSavvy before, the extremely popular barcode scanner app that is available on Android, the iPhone and Nokia and which is coming to Windows Phone 7 shortly.

The folks at 'Big in Japan', the developers of said app, have posted some screen shots of what the upcoming software looks like.

We have to admit, it looks pretty compelling being able to scan an item, search for the lowest price, read reviews and add to lists. Sound interesting? Head over to their site and sign up for the beta

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What a strange week it's been for Trinket Software, the developer of Twikini.

We haven't heard much from them since March and at the time seemed pretty gung-ho about their upcoming Windows Phone 7 Twitter application. Then out of nowhere they chime in about the upcoming Twitter API change, noting that they have no plans to fix the current version of Twikini. A few hours later, they are talking about making Twikini open-source.

Now we get word that they want out and are looking to sell the company.

???

We're not sure what happened to Trinket, they had some very creative programs and seemed to nearly own the Twitter market (Bill Gates is even a fan). We're quite sad to see them go, wish the developer the best of luck and hope that someone caries on the torch. Then again, it seems most Twikini owners were rightlfully T.O'd about not getting their software updated--which we totally agree with.

Either way, the company is now up for bid right here. SPBResco? For Twitter's sake, someone buy the damn company so we can continue to see that lil' fishbowl icon on our phones! Pleeeeeasee!?

Update: as noted in comments, the auction site basically explains why Trinket is up for auction. The long and short of it is: currently no enough income to support their developers and their code needs to be re-written for WP7, something they are currently not up to doing.

Goes to show how rough it can be to do this kind of thing.

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Even though this is a pretty basic application, it's one that I know I'll use a lot. It's from Pelnor Software and it scours the internet for images, providing them in a thumbnail form, then allowing you to browse in a larger size. Of course it then allows 1-click saving to the Photo-hub or you can go to the site where the image originated.

Simple but useful.

I now have a sudden craving for nachos.

Watch the video demonstration after the break.

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Just ahead of Gamescom and their reported multiple gaming announcements, Microsoft is evidently launching Mobile Gaming Studio, under the umbrella of the larger Microsoft Game Studios.

The information comes from, where else, a job posting, which details

Microsoft Games Studios is establishing a new Studio - MGS Mobile Gaming - focused on bringing games and entertainment to the mobile life that people lead. Our vision is to deliver games and entertainment so good that people will want them always with them, on a service that makes them social, connected and relevant anywhere their life goes. The Mobile Gaming team is building industry leading products that showcase our Windows Phone platform as well as emerging mobile platforms, and will help realize Microsoft's connected entertainment vision. The Mobile Gaming studio will be the hub for MGS franchises and titles on mobile devices and a center of excellence for mobile games.

That bit about "...emerging mobile platforms" sounds a lot like tablet aspirations, no? It's not a stretch to think that Microsoft envisions you playing games on your Xbox, PC, phone and someday your tablet--we're down with that. We're also hoping that "MGS franchises" bit refers to some Halo/Gears of War mobile action.

The only shocker here is that Microsoft is doing this now, as opposed to say last February? We're going to go on a limb here and say (hope?) that Microsoft already has a mobile-gaming team in place, cranking out some titles for the Fall.

Right guys? Right?

[via 1800PocketPC]

 

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Well, here it is folks, just in time for Monday morning--the HTC Schubert, which is expected to be one of the first GSM phones featuring Windows Phone 7 to hit the market.

Part of the device's sexy looks comes form the aluminum unibody design, much like the Android-based HTC Legend (see more on that here).

Unfortunately while we have pictures, we don't have any specifications for the device, though you can bet on at least a 1GHz processor and ample RAM like all WP7 Chassis 1 devices.

Watch the full video after the break and here are some screenshots below. Our quick impression? We likey. Your thoughts? Lets us know in comments.

[247 Windows phone via Solo Palmari]

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Say it ain't so!

Trinket software, developers of the extremely popular Twitter client 'Twikini' notes that their app will stop working in a few days. Worse still, there are no plans to "fix" the problem.

Evidently, Twitter is changing authentication protocol required for third party programs on August 16th, 2010 which will result in slowdowns till D-day, August 31st when the plug is finally pulled. Read more on that here.

Now most Twiiter apps will be or already have updated their authentication method to use the new protocol. But Trinket software has basically "moved on" from WM6.5+ to Windows Phone 7 (see here) and in turn, won't be delivering any updates to fix the problem.

Sorry guys, with the shape WM 6.x is in, we've moved on to other projects. Twikini will be back on WP7.

Grrrr.

In a twist, Trinket is considering making their Twikini code open-source, meaning the community can then fix the problem as well as...well keep adding things we suppose. To that idea, we say 'Yes please!' as it'd be the right thing to do (and the least) for all the loyal users who have bought the application.

Update: We just go word that MoTweets (see review) is already updated and should be fine August 16th; unfortunately TouchTwit has not been updated for the new protocol (yet); PockeTwit is currently working on an update.

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26

Windows phone 7 Series

What you see above is the Microsoft sign at Mobile World Congress. At first there was nothing special except for a large sticker covering...something.

The savvy cats at Engadget decided to use the "X-ray filter" in Photoshop and lo and behold, beneath the sticker it says: 7 Series.

Seven?  Series? Sounds like that might be hinting at the rumored Business and Multimedia editions that we mentioned a few weeks ago.

While we don't know all of the details about what Microsoft has in mind for Monday, we're still surmising that the overall strategy (and what we've talked about during the podcast #88, #89) is thus:

  • Pink/Zune/Turtle/Pure phones = Feature phones; not full Wp7
  • Business Edition = The true upgrade path for WM6.5 --> Wp7; customizable 
  • Media Edition = Combine the Pink & Business edition for one high end smartphone

Call us crazy, but we think this three-pronged approach (with only two being 'true' Windows phone 7 devices) is what Microsoft is attempting.  Mind you, according to the WSJ, we might not even hear about Pink/Zune/Turtle/Pure at Mobile World Congress. That actually makes sense as those devices are not true Windows phone 7 series nor would they want to scare off their OEMs.

It's also becoming more clear that last week's "rumors" were probably more about Project Pink than Windows phone 7, which we strongly suggested ;-)

So, what do you think? Sound off below!

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eBay on Windows Phone 7? Done.

For those of you who have bidding fever, you've got good luck.

According to Forbes, Microsoft asked the online flea-market eBay to make a mobile application for Windows Phone 7. Being the good company they are, eBay of course accepted the request and should have the app ready to go when the OS finally launches this Fall.

In addition, eBay is playing around with adding a Half.com application (no word if a WP7 version will appear), barcode scanning, video and other tweaks to make the software even better. Basically they envision that one day you can use your mobile's camera to scan a vehicle VIN, someone's clothes, etc. and find car parts or that guy's shirt you dig so much.

Cool.

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In addition to the basic functions of TellMe for Windows Phone 7, including make a call, do a search and launch a program, evidently you can also command the device to play music, much like our current phones.

MobilitySite published a list of the commands themselves, which should be familiar enough to any long time VoiceCommand user. The Zune command is in the following format:

“Play ” where the category will be artist, album, song, etc and the item will be an item of the category you listed. i.e. “Play Artist U2”.

So that's some good news even though many of you have expected that feature to be there anyways.  In addition, since TellMe is primarily a cloud-based system, we expect the TellMe function to grow and expand with future updates to the OS, enabling a host of other features. On launch, we'll settle for the basics we suppose.

Now f I could only muster the confidence to blurt out "Play Lady Gaga Poker Face" in public, I'll be all set. 

[via WMPU]

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We're not too familiar with the AT&T U-verse cable TV and high speed internet service, but we imagine it's a lot like the more prominent Verizon FiOS.

The good news for U-verse subscribers is that you'll have the ability to stream your media content right from your Mediaroom DVR box (we're assuming that you have one of course). That's because Microsoft and AT&T will have a mobile client on or near launch that will support AT&T's system for Windows Phone 7, which should make many media-hungry folks quite pleased.

Exact details and features are not known at this time as it is expected that AT&T will have their own custom version of the software, setup to their requirements.

That AT&T "premier carrier for WP7" thing is starting to make a little more sense. So who's going to be watching "Jersey Shore" on the way to work in the morning, eh? Eh?

[via iStartedSomething & MobileCrunch]

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We're headed into the finial lap for the Windows Phone 7 launch and we think Microsoft still has a few tricks up their sleeves to announce before release.

Next week, Microsoft is confirmed to be at Gamescom, the European version of E3 boasting to be the world's largest gaming conference with "...245,000 visitors, more than 4,000 journalists and 458 exhibitors from 31 countries". Yowza.

While just being there is expected, Microsoft is reportedly confirmed, in addition, to have " a full conference...and that they had several announcements to make".

No doubt Microsoft will have something to say about Kinect (aka Project Natal), but we're going to be paying close attention for any Windows Phone 7 gaming announcements--after all, Europe appears to be slightly ahead of the U.S. market for release, so what better time to show off some big Xbox/WP7 titles?

We're still hoping/betting on a 'Halo' port of some sort for Redmond's latest mobile OS. But what do you folks think?

[via Neowin.net]

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Easily one of the biggest concerns about Windows Phone 7 is not so much the initial limitations, but rather how often Microsoft updates the OS to address those. Fact is, Microsoft does not have a track record to go by, leaving many potential power users here...skeptical.

Today we have some good news in this regard as Microsoft has already updated the developer release of the OS via the Zune software as evidenced up above (from MobileTechWorld). Of course we won't know how often this will happen after release, but it goes to show how easy the process should be in theory. Looks good to us.

The other good news is that Microsoft is populating the store with more apps, including  "NY Times Reader, Yelp, YouTube, AT&T Uverse, Stocks, Weather, Translator". The rest can be seen in the collage below. Before there were maybe 3 or 4 apps (some of which were recently demoed), so this is an improvement for sure. Also worth noting are the icons, there seems to be two themes: basic Metro and full on color.

The image and info comes via Justin Angel (who still doesn't have a device, but has "hacked" his way this to this point).

[Thanks, Daniel G, for the tip!]

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Awhile back, project 'Menlo' was talked about as a new research area for Microsoft. What it exactly entailed was not so clear and today, well, it's only a little more so...

Evidently a new paper (.pdf warning) was published by Microsoft where they say:

Menlo is a prototype mobile device with a capacitive touch screen (4.1? diagonal, 800×480) running Microsoft Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2 which incorporates a Bosch BMA150 3-axis accelerometer and Bosch BMP085 digital pressure sensor (barometer).

That device is pictured above. On top of that hardware is a new program called "Greenfield" which is "a sensor-centric program allowing users to retrace their footsteps when seeking to find their cars."

Basically all of this comes down to Microsoft exploring the future of mobile computing and computing in general (e.g. Singularity). Like we've mentioned before, this is cool stuff to learn about and if you can remember it 2-4 years from now, you'll probably see some of the results from this work. But don't look for much of this anytime soon.

ZDNet has more detailed info for those interested.

 

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