Windows Phone News

Not everyone is happy with the Windows Phone Marketplace. Someone at Reddit (hello 'rage comics', my favorite other time killer) is lamenting the overabundance of "non apps" in the Marketplace Tools section. As noted in the image, there seems to be quite a bit of...the same thing? Echoing similar statements, writer for ZDnet, Noikia Experts and friend of the site Matt Miller noted last night in a tweet: "Appears to be maybe 50 decent apps and 950+ crap ones in WP7 Marketplace. Numbers aren't everything, let's pick up the quality please."

Question: even if Microsoft wanted to prevent this from happening, how would they go about doing it? Set a five "Tip calculator" rule? (And seriously, who actually uses a tip calculator?) Do you think the Windows Phone Market, despite promises, will become like Android's and Apple's with the majority of apps subpar? Or is this just the 1st wave of a new OS that will up the ante?

Fire away in comments!

Source: Reddit, Twitter (@palmsolo)

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Looks like everyone is doing their Q4 reports this week. First was Microsoft and now HTC is reporting huge numbers this morning, including a whopping $3.3 billion in revenue and doubling the amount of phones shipped from 2009 to bring them to roughly 25 million total phones brought to market. Not to shabby for the OEM who went public about 3 years ago.

On top of the news, they expect Android to keep going strong and yes, those huge numbers are mostly Android related. They also see WP7 doing well but they had nothing significant to say on the matter outside of they saw "tremendous opportunities" for customers using the new OS. Plus launching five phones with the new OS shows certainly shows their commitment. They rival Samsung for #4 maker in the world, falling behind Nokia, RIM and Apple.

Source: Reuters

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This post is for just my fellow 8 million or so New Yorkers who rely on the MTA for daily transportation, occasional napping and studies of human social behavior. Good news Everyone! Developers Presselite have made their 'New York Subway' app available in the Windows Phone Marketplace for a very fair $0.99.

The app is well known in the iPhone world, as it not only gives the MTA subway map, but shows the nearest station in relation to your current location, can plan a route (including estimated travel time) and it can even give MTA track updates (e.g. when repairs are being done, lines are shut down, etc.). All in all, it looks to take advantage of Bing, GPS and Metro UI quite effectively and makes for a great daily travel tool. Or we suppose if you're one of the millions of visitors, to which I say "You're walking to slow!"

Source: Zune/Windows Phone Marketplace

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As a follow up to the earlier story about replacing the storage card on the HD7, the only remaining question was how many GB can you install? While we don't know the upper limit, we do know 8, 16 and yes, now 32GB cards will work just fine (it would have been really huge news if, oddly, the 32GB didn't work).

XDA member derekcranson did the test and even explains the process, noting there are 10 screws that need to be removed before exchanging the SD card. Replacing the card, of course, violates the warranty, so make sure you keep the original and the little sticker handy just in case. As interesting, the stock 16GB card is a class 0, meaning "These cards do not specify performance, which includes all legacy cards prior to class specifications."

Of course this presumably means that other WP7 phones can do the same, like the Samsung Focus and we're betting the Dell Venue Pro. Shouldn't be long before we confirm other devices as well.

So, who's now ordering a 32gb card for their new phone?

Source: XDA; via wmpoweruser

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Microsoft released their First Quarter Earnings Report for fiscal year 2011 that included reported revenue of $16.2 Billion, a 25% increase from the same period of the prior year.

Peter Klein, Chief Financial Officer at Microsoft stated,

“This was an exceptional quarter, combining solid enterprise growth and continued strong consumer demand for Office 2010, Windows 7, and Xbox 360 consoles and games. Our ability to grow revenue while continuing to control costs allowed us to deliver another quarter of year-over-year margin expansion.”

Additional increases for the Quarter included $7.12 Billion in Operating Income (59% increase), $5.41 Billion in Net Income (51% boost) and $.62 per share in diluted earnings (55% rise).

Things appear to be on the up-swing for Microsoft with the 25% setting a new earnings record.  It will be interesting to see how Windows Phone 7 will impact the company's Second Quarter Report. Could we see another earnings report set?

Follow the break for the full Press Release and you can find the full financial report here.

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Stephansen Consulting has released Currencies, a currency converter app for Windows Phone 7. It's currently available over at the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace and will run you $.99. A trial version is also available.

Key features include:

  • Add your most used currencies to your own list of favorites.
  • Set your home currency.
  • View rates by your home currency.
  • Convert between currencies.
  • Currencies can be updated automatically when you start the application.
  • Currencies will use your selected Windows Phone theme colors.

Based on the demo video, the application looks nice and takes full advantage of the hub layout. We'll have a full review of Currencies up soon.

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PDC attendees get free Windows Phone 7s

Looks like those lucky developers at PDC10 (see earlier mention) all received free phones today from Microsoft. At last count, that's nearly 1000 people who recived the Samsung Omnia 7--one of the most well received phones yet (other, non-paying attendees received the pre-production Taylor). While Microsoft skipped reporters in NYC a few weeks ago, it looks like MS knows where their bread and butter is: developers!

Source: IStartedSomething

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There are a number of applications that lend themselves perfectly to a Smartphone; Ebook readers are toward the top of the list. Though many of us would still prefer having a physical book in hand, the convenience offered by having a dozen different books readily available on your Smartphone is tough to argue with.

One of the largest players in the Ebook (and traditional book) market announced their support for Windows Phone 7 at Microsoft’s PDC (Professional Developer’s Conference) this week in Redmond. Amazon’s Kindle app (no relation to WP7 heavy hitter Charlie Kindel) is one of the premier platforms for Ebooks available. Kindle for Windows Phone will support Amazon’s Whispersync technology which allows you to keep your place in a book across devices.

The Kindle app is “Coming Soon” to the Marketplace. More details are available from Amazon. View the PDC Day 1 keynote here.

Source: The Windows Phone Developer Blog

Update: YouTube Video after the jump. Thanks to Tom Warren for the link.

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Over at the::unwired.net, Arne Hess does a fine job of explaining the memory requirements of Windows Phone 7 and helps shed light on what is turning out to be a complicated issue (see our earlier coverage of the Samsung Focus & its SD card).

Turns out he was able to disassemble his (pre-production) HTC HD7 and replace the storage card after some finagling (he had a problem at first). He also explains how the memory works on WP7--basically it's not like a RAID system, but rather it concatonates the memory installed into as and reads it as one big drive. Removing a storage card requires a hard reset in order to get it working again.

Finally, he mentions that the reason for this SD card usage, instead of installed flash, is cost. OEMs can save money by using SD cards which are easy to upgrade and replace as opposed to onboard solutions which are more pricey and restrictive. Seems to make sense and even though it's confusing for us, we bet OEMs might like this for production purposes (remember how everything was 8GB then magically almost all WP7 devices went 16GB? Yeah, that...). It remains to be seen, however, if all WP7 devices use this method or not.

Source: the:unwired.net

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File this one under surprising, but Candians are evidently a little more gun-ho about owning Windows Phone 7 than Android, though it's not by much.

In a survey conducted by Delvinia Data Collection for ITBusiness.ca, 9% of the respondents say they plan to buy a WP7 device over 8.8% of those who want Android. Well, last we checked 0.2% is within statistical variation here, so in reality it's more a tie. Having said that, WP7 isn't even out yet and apparently it has as much mindshare as the seemingly exponential popular Android--that has to say something, no?

The poll was conducted on 1,094 participants, aged 18+ and evenly split along gender.

Source: IT Business.ca

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Though there still is no word on when this bad boy goes on sale, things are starting to rev up for the much anticipated Dell Venue Pro.

The phone now has an official listing on Microsoft's Windows Phone page, where its 7 hours talk-time and "scratch and shatter resistant screen" aka Gorilla Glass are prominently featured. We have to admit, the more we look at it, the more we want it. That 4.1" screen is the sweet spot for size and the keyboard...well.

Now lets just get some pricing and availability! Finally, while the phone is not on Amazon yet, some accessories are, implying hopefully some imminence.

Source: Microsoft, Amazon.com; via Windows Roundup

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Updated: Say it ain't so! Looks like Network World got the quote wrong as Michael Scherotter ask them to make a correction noting: "Great article but with a slight correction; built-in software like Zune can play music in the background. Pandora cannot at this time."

The issue of multitasking in Windows Phone 7 has been nearly beaten to death but there is light at the end of the tunnel. One app that is frequently held up as an example of why multitasking is needed is Pandora--the music streaming app that chooses songs based on your likes/dislikes. Not being able to run Pandora in the background seems painful, as anyone who used an iPhone (pre-iOS 4) could attest.

Well, it looks like those fears may be unfounded. According to Network World, at the Sprint Developer Conference held Tuesday, Microsoft’s Michael Scherotter mentioned that Pandrora is an exception. More importantly that multitasking is coming to Windows Phone 7, just no firm date;

Scherotter said while a few major apps will be able to multitask, such as Pandora, the music streaming app that will play in the background while the user is doing something else, independent apps will not, for now. Scherotter said that eventually, independent apps will be multitask-capable, but he wouldn't say when that would be.

Good news for Pandora (presumably soon to be available in the Marketplace) and we're confident Microsoft will deliver on the multitasking front, once they design an elegant method to do so. Does this make anyone feel a bit better about their potential future investment in the OS?

Source: Network World

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Microsoft is starting to roll out a Xbox Live Extras update for Windows Phone 7. Extras will allow you to view, access and launch your game library from one easy-to-navigate hub on your phone. Xbox Live Extras is only available in the United States, United Kingdom, India, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong. More Countries will be added to the list as things progress.

There were a few bugs reported when it was first released a few days ago, such as the Xbox hub hanging on a black screen and then returning to the Start screen. It was also taking some time to convert Avatar Props for the Windows Phone. Those bugs were quickly addressed by Microsoft and the update should be hitting the Marketplace now.

If you start to tinker with Xbox Live Extras on your Windows Phone and still encounter any issues, you can report them here.

via Twitter (@mklucher)

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Microsoft's giving away free Windows Phone 7 device and 12-month Zune Pass subscriptions.

All you have to do is head over to the "official" sweepstakes website and complete the registration form. Or you can enter through Twitter by following @windowsphone and tweeting the phrase "Zune on Windows Phone 7 Rocks My World! Official Rules http://bit.ly/aO7WmS".

You are limited to two entries per day (one via the website and one via Twitter) and you can't use multiple emails to increase your chances.

There are five Entry Periods with the first starting on October 27th, ending on November 2nd and the winning names drawn on November 3rd. One Grand Prize (the phone and Zune Pass), along with five First Place Prizes (one month Zune Pass) will be given away during each Entry Period.

Good luck and let us know if you're one of the lucky winners!

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Opera latest State of the Mobile Web Report is showcasing that the mobile web browser Opera Mini saves consumers worldwide more than $2.2 Billion each month on their mobile data bills. The benefit comes by way of Opera Mini's compression technology that reduces the size of web pages up to 90%, thus lowering the amount of data consumed. U.S. consumers could save $141 on average each month.

The Mobile Web Report provides information on the top global trends affecting the mobile web. Asides from the estimated savings, Opera makes note of the following global trends:

  • In September 2010, Opera Mini had over 71.2 million users, a 7.1% increase from August 2010. Since September 2009, the number of unique users has increased 100.1%
  • Opera Mini users viewed over 36.9 billion pages in September 2010. Since August, page views have gone up 9.0%. Since September 2009, page views have increased 147.2%
  • Opera Mini users generated over 535.3 million MB of data for operators worldwide. Since August, the data consumed went up by 9.4%. Data in Opera Mini is compressed by up to 90%. If this data were uncompressed, Opera Mini users would have viewed over 4.9 petabytes of data in September. Since September 2009, data traffic is up 135.8%.

In the U.S. market, Opera is reporting the following growth:

  • Page-view growth since September 2009: 60.1 %
  • Unique-user growth since September 2009: 19.6 %
  • Data transfer growth since September 2009: 65.0 %
  • Page views per user: 331
  • Data transferred per user (MB): 8
  • Data transferred per page view (KB): 24
  • Google.com, Facebook.com and Youtube.com are the top three mobile sites visited in the U.S.

I'm not sure about the $141 in savings but Opera's mobile browsers have been busy over the past year. You can find the full report here as well as Cost-Savings Calculator and growth snapshots for the countries where Opera products are used.

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We haven't been covering the Nokia "will they or won't they" rumors about them adopting Windows Phone 7 to either replace or augment their Symbian/MeeGo lineup, but in the case we will because we find it quite definitive.

In an interview with CNet Asia, Niklas Savander, Nokia's executive vice president and general manager for Markets, said this about using other platforms:

Currently, we don't think the platforms out there which we are not using--Android and Microsoft--offers an incremental opportunity for us to add value that would sustain a competitive advantage over somebody else. So, no plans.

Sure, maybe he's just being coy on the issue, but we have a feeling that this is pretty legit. It would have been nice to have Nokia on board, but we'll survive without them.

Source: CNet Asia

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We don't know if this is just restricted to Telstra in Australia or all GSM WP7 devices, but evidently on at least some Windows Phone 7 devices, call waiting is not enabled. Odd, eh?

Over at Chris Walsh's blog, he demonstrates how to enable this seemingly important feature and it's far from difficult:

Just type *43# into the dialer, then press "Call"

Of course there is nothing unique about that code per se, as they are just part of the GSM feature codes which are universal. Anyone else confirm whether or not this is disabled on their WP7 device?

Source: Chris Walsh (blog)

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We've mentioned before, the one big reason to consider the Samsung Focus (here on AT&T) or the Omnia 7 (rest of world) is the screen, featuring Samsung's Super AMOLED technology. It's hard to see in pictures at times, but in person, it really is outstanding and yes, a reason to possibly choose it over other devices.

In the picture above, you can see how the screen fairs in direct sunlight. There has been debate about whether or not Super AMOLED is superior in the sun compared to a traditional LCD, but at least in the case, the Omnia 7 appears to hold up pretty well.

Source: Twitter (@stefanvicentic); OLED-Display.net

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For you developers out there, Microsoft is holding their Professional Developers Conference on October 28-29th, starting at 9am PDT, where they will have numerous presentations on developing apps for Windows Phone 7 as well as other tidbits about the platform.

If you can't make it (and it sold out awhile ago), you can watch it online or attend a "local" event near you to make it a more interesting (and nerdy) experience. In addition, you can see the list of events here to better plan your schedule. Alternatively, all events will be able to be downloaded 24hrs after broadcast, making it even easier.

And if you already have a Windows Phone 7 device, you can download the app from the Marketplace, which has the schedule and video content. Noyce.

Source: Microsoft, Steve Clayton

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While we were just talking about how MS Tag has passed the 2 billion mark for number of tags made, the question came up what about Windows Phone 7?

The reader is currently available on Windows Mobile, Android and even the iPhone but at launch, no client for Windows Phone 7 has been announced. Well, as you probably already read in the Tweet above, Microsoft has not only finished the Tag Reader app but it's being tested/approved as we speak, meaning it's just a matter of time before release.

Heck, there's even already source code to make a MS Tag generator. Looks like everything's covered here.

Source: Twitter (@microsofttag)

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