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Rumors

Call it a strong rumor. One that many would like to see com true.

A leaked AT&T email to support personnel is indicating that AT&T will finally push out the Windows Phone 7 Nodo update on April 19th for the Quantum and Focus. The HTC Surround should receive the update in mid-May.

Quoting from the leaked email,

"Effective April 19, 2011, new Microsoft maintenance release updates will be available to AT&T customers with existing LG Quantum and Samsung Focus Windows Phone 7 devices. Approved updates for the HTC Surround are scheduled for availability in mid-May and will be communicated once approved."

The memo also indicates that this will involve the release of two new Maintenance Release updates (7008 and 73390). The 7390 update is being referred to as NoDo that adds copy/paste as well as additional functionality that is unique to AT&T.  There is no mention as to why the Surround's update is being delayed.

Sounds promising and fortunately it won't be long before we can tell if this rumor is a good one.  Oddly, the Microsoft Update page still shows AT&T's update as "Testing". Then again, Microsoft hasn't updated the update page since April 6th.  We'll keep you posted if we hear anything more on this.

Source: winrumors Thanks to everyone who tipped us on this!

Update: We just checked in on Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Update Page and, as PugetChowder notes in the comments, it has been updated.  The Quantum and Focus are listed as "Scheduling" which typically means the update will be distributed within the next ten days.  The Surround update, unfortunately, is still listed as "Testing".

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Leaked images of a new Windows Phone have surfaced. The HTC Mazaa appears to be sporting a 3.7" screen and, according to unconfirmed reports, will be headed to Sprint in the next six or so months.

The Mazaa resembles the HTC Trophy and is rumored to use DDR2 memory to improve overall speed. The tipster makes not of what appears to be an IMEI number on the phone which could mean the Mazaa has GSM capabilities. Could Sprint be poised to launch a Windows Phone 7 world phone?

All of which leads us to the inevitable question, which will hit the market first, the Sprint Mazaa or Verizon Trophy?

Edit: The red under the speaker grill is exactly like Verizon's "Red" accented Trophy. We find it a bit difficult that Sprint would opt for the same color scheme and at least I'm a bit skeptical. Even AT&T changed the color accent on their HD7 versus T-Mobile's. D. Rubino

Source: XDA Developers via: Pocketnow

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Nokia W7 and W8 to be first WP7 devices? [Rumor]

Nokia made a short appearance at MIX'11 yesterday and with the increased enthusiasm Marco Argenti (head of developer experience at Nokia) showed, it would seem that Nokia are really steaming ahead with the planning and early development stages of their WP7 adoption.

Eldar Murtazin, a dude with inside Nokia knowledge, has claimed to be in the know how with Nokia's WP7 device plans while getting his hands on a prototype. What's interesting is the naming scheme given to the two devices Eldar mentioned - the W7 and W8. He goes on to explain that the W7 is built on similar grounds of the X7 and the W8 (packing an 8 MP camera) is a variant of the N8, Nokia's current flagship device.

Imagine the current N8 running WP7 Mango, would be quite an experience. The prototypes are all being built on Qualcomm chipsets and the W7 is currently being handled in-house for development purposes, which will likely be the first device from Nokia to market, according to Eldar. Should neither appeal to you don't cut all hope as Mr Murtazin also says that Nokia has a dozen WP7 devices planned for 2012 - which could all change depending on the W7 and W8 releases (if this rumour holds true of course).

What do you make of these roumors, and do the above Nokia devices sound appealing to you?

Source: Harahabr, via: Engadget

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Is Windows Phone 'Mango' 7.5 or not?

Read into that slide what you will, but it sure looks to us like Microsoft is calling 'Mango' Windows Phone 7.5, at least internally.

However, when we asked Andrew Clinick from Microsoft, he said that it was a "mistake" calling it 7.5 in that slide and that they haven't decided on what they are calling it yet. So backtrack/covering or legit position? We have no idea, but figured it was worth mentioning, at the very least.

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Looks like Microsoft may be retooling the Xbox LIVE hub a bit for Mango as well, though they are mum on the details at the moment.

The image to the left was taken by us during a MIX11 session today. Denoting Xbox LIVE Gold Status, the change is quite significant from the current version. Our guess is that if you have a Gold account, it will now reflect on the tile. When we asked Microsoft's Andrew Clinick about it, he was very coy giving us a "I have no idea what you're talking about!" with a grin. Real frunny guys!

The second shot to the right, comes courtesy of Long Zheng/iStartedSomething of ChevronWP7 fame and was taken during the keynote (from his Flickr stream). It shows what the nex Xbox Hub may look like, with a smaller list view being shown. What other changes are there? We'll try to find out, but MS seems to not be revealing too much here.

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Tipped off by Chris Walsh, we noticed a few Kinect sensors on stage for the MIX11 keynote talks. Three of them can be seen in the above photo and we're told that there are five in total (we think they're in front, near a speaker).

How are these Kinects being used? We're not too sure, but it's kind of neat knowing that these things have like a billion uses. Oh and we hear from WPSauce (Rahul Mathur) that the Kinect SDK gets released tomorrow. Stay tuned for more on that as it happens.

Edit: There's actually six Kinects, maybe even seven Seems Microsoft has some big Kinect news for tomorrow.

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According to reports over at WinRumors, Microsoft may be planning to announce a more flexible hardware specification allowance for manufacturers of Windows Phone 7 at MIX11. 

"According to sources familiar with the company’s plans, the new hardware specifications will allow device manufacturers such as Nokia to create cheaper Windows Phone devices. The announcement may be made as early as the company’s MIX11 conference this week. The new flexibility will offer device makers the option to use cheaper components to bring the overall cost of a Windows Phone down. Microsoft is understood to be open to flexible specifications in order to gain smartphone market share and eat into Google’s Android efforts."

We also received this info from @WindosPhone8 (still rumour guys!): "New flexible spec #Wp7 chasis requires no wi fi, bluetooth, 3g, camera, fm, compass, gyro. Must have wvga 3.5"+, gps, accelerometer, 2g+"

While this would tie in nicely with Nokia bringing devices to the platform and would certainly appeal to many with a really tight budget, I don't see this happening simply because there are already fairly cheap options already on the platform - namely the HTC 7 Trophy which is available at Amazon (UK) for £299.99 (just under $500US), not to mention previous deals on the Samsung Focus. As well as that, lower-end hardware would introduce concerns from users that the devices may not be able to run the software (and applications) smoothly to ensure a user experience found on top-end models.

With the current line of WP7 devices packing a single-core processor, I'm not entirely sure how low we could go before performance begins to become an issue, especially with multitasking coming around the corner later this year in Mango. Microsoft themselves stated numerous times they're in the smartphone race for the long run, why would they begin to go back on the WP7 foundations that features strict platform hardware requirements? WP7 would also run the risk of mild fragmentation, something that made many of us leave Android.

Let's see if anything is announced at MIX this week, what do you think about the rumor? Do you think it's nonsense and Microsoft will stick to the fantastic strict specification requirements, or do you believe they're starting to get impatient about marketshare?

Source: WinRumors

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(See that big ol' rumor tag? Heed it. What we have here are some rumors from a new source, who, to be honest, is not completely verified. Having said that, what they say will be announced this week at MIX11 is in line with other things we've been hearing officially and unofficially--meaning this is all very plausible. So lets get to it...)

This coming week, Microsoft is hosting their developer conference in Las Vegas, NV, aptly called MIX. They usually announce new tools for developers and roadmaps for features there as well, so it's kind of a big deal as we get a look into what is coming next. Here are a couple of things developers can expect, we're told:

  • Interoperability: devs can now use both Silverlight and XNA inside a single app
  • Bundled SQL CE on the device
  • Full camera API access e.g. for augmented reality apps
  • Live tiles and push notifications will be improved and easier for developers to use
  • Sensor framework and controls - easier access
  • Silverlight 4 for Windows Phone
  • Full network / sockets access (we've heard this before)
  • More on 'Mango'

Like we said, none of the above is exactly crazy and we can totally see Microsoft giving Windows Phone developers these tools, which would really advance the platform. Of course, there's only one way to find out and we'll be there all week covering the event to see if any of this pans out. Fingers crossed.

Source: @WindowsPhone8 (personal communication) 

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File this under rumor (one that can be easily faked) but there are now two reports of a later build of Windows Phone 7 floating around, specifically with build 7753 (as opposed to the "latest" NoDo at 7389). The only prominent difference noted is the appearance of a "search icon" near the Apps arrow which presumably lets you search your apps for a specific program.

The first instance of this build made its appearance with DFT--the same group who brought you WP7 on the HD2. They somehow either made a really good fake or got their hands on a later build of the OS, meaning HD2 owners may see this sooner than later. Now, a secondary user by the name of huggye over at Windows Phone Italy has posted a screen shot of LG Optimus 7 supposedly running 7753 as well. Reportedly this version was "pushed" to his device, perhaps in error.

While we have no doubt that like Windows Mobile, the Windows Phone dev team has multiple branches of the OS in progress (see WM6.5.x series), we're not 100% sure of these stories either as they can be easily faked. But like we said, it wouldn't necessarily surprise us either. Is this an early build of 'Mango'? Seems to be semantics to us as 'Mango' has a lot of things involved, so we think this is just one branch of the future 'Mango' update.

We have an idea: we'll just ask some people at Microsoft at MIX11 next week, fair?

Source: Windows Phone Italy (1), (2); Picture via 'huggye'; via Pocketnow

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The Bank of America Windows Phone 7 app was first mentioned during Steve Ballmer's CES 2011 keynote address. We are now getting indications that the app is in the final stages of testing and should be available over at the Marketplace soon.

Not sure if this will be how the final product looks but based on the screen shots we've received, it appears the app will give you access to a wide range of banking information. Features appear to include checking account balances, paying bills, transferring funds and finding local branches.  Branch searches will pull up Bing Maps and map the nearest branches to your current location.  We're not sure if turn-by-turn directions will be a part of the search results.  The app looks nice and should be well received by Bank of America customers.  

It's a nice looking app and hopefully other financial institutions will follow Bank of America's lead and bring more banking apps to the Windows Phone.

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Information is a bit murky, but it looks like there could be a problem with the recently released ChevronWP7.Updater that was posted a few days ago by Chris Walsh. The updater as of now has been pulled offline with no explanation given. Based on Microsoft's own tools for fixing NoDo installation errors, Walsh was able to modify it so that it forced a NoDo update for any device queued for the ROM upgrade without any "hacking" to the phone itself.

Adding fire to the mix is a report, unconfirmed, from the::unwired who said this:

According to Microsoft, the use of ChevronWP7.Updater could possibly put the updated Windows Phone 7 device into a state where it cannot receive future regular updates to the OS anymore and the only fix will be re-flashing the device with an original stock ROM. At the end of the day if could mean that such Windows Phone 7 devices have to be send to the manufacturers or carriers service centers because unlike for Windows Mobile, stock ROMs are officially not available as a public download for end-users.

However, before we all start panicking, the man himself, Chris Walsh, has chimed in on Twitter saying "Don't believe everything you read" in response from numerous people mentioning the potential issues.

Pure speculation here, but we imagine Microsoft asked Walsh to pull the update till they could test all the ramifications of the hack. In the process, some premature dire warnings made it out to the 'net without 100% confidence behind them e.g. better to be cautious than not. In short, if you haven't done this update yet, your best bet is to wait a few days for the dust to settle as we're sure Walsh and Microsoft will have something to announce on the matter when something definitive can be said.

Source: the:unwired, My Coding Adventures, Twitter 1, Twitter 2

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It was earlier thought that the Verizon HTC Trophy would hit the market on March 24th but that date has long since come and gone.  We've also seen rumors that the release date would be some time in June.

Now, through a leaked Verizon Spring road map, it looks like the Windows Phone 7 device will should hit stores on April 15.  It joins a handful of Android devices being released by Verizon during April and, as previously reported, will be featuring the NoDo update.

No details on pricing have surfaced but we're thinking $199 with contractual discounts might be in the ball park.  We'll have our fingers crossed (again) that the April 15th date holds true.


Source: phandroid via: AndroidCentral  Thanks goes out to D.J. Richard for the tip!

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There is some speculation going around that the Nodo update will hit the T-Mobile HD7 tomorrow. According to Microsoft's "Where's my update page" T-Mobile is still showing in the "Scheduling" phase.

It's our understanding that when "Scheduling" appears on this chart, the update is within about ten days of being distributed. The chart went live on March 23rd so if the rumor holds true, tomorrow would be within that ten day window.  Granted that T-Mobile began testing on or about the 23rd.

Yet we have all learned that the best plans can always be delayed. So for now, we'll file this under "hopeful rumor" and find out soon enough if things hold true. To all the T-Mobile HD7 owners, good luck and we'll keep our fingers crossed.

Source: TMoNews

Update:  It appears, based on the tips we've received from a number of readers (thanks as always) that T-Mobile has unleashed an update for the HD7 and Dell Venue Pro today.  T-Mobile began distributing the February pre-Nodo update today and while it's not the March Nodo update, it is a step in the right direction.

Update 2: Reports are coming in that the NoDo is being pushed after the February update as well. For those waiting, give the servers time to populate and push.

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While far from exciting, as it won't bring any new features, Microsoft is rumored to be working on an update to fix fraudulent SSL certificates in a hacking attempt that took aim at many web browser. Microsoft just published a security advisory on the issue to address the bogus SSL certs. As Bruce Cowper, manager of the Microsoft Trustworthy group states:

This is not a Microsoft security vulnerability; however, one of the certificates potentially affects Windows Live ID users via login.live.com...These certificates may be used to spoof content, perform phishing attacks, or perform man-in-the-middle attacks against end users. We are unaware of any active attacks.

Microsoft has since patched Internet Explorer against the attack is reportedly mulling over an update, even possibly an over-the-air (OTA) one for Windows Phone, though nothing is certain at this point. No time line was given either. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft utilizes the OTA update capability for Windows Phone, a feature which was originally thought to be used for adding copy/paste but has since taken a back seat due to reliability concerns.

Edit: For those curious about SSL certs and how they work, see VeriSign

Source: WinRumors

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Microsoft has responded to the "Zune (hardware) is dead" meme that has taken off like a hurricane ever since the Bloomberg article the other day:

“We have nothing to announce about another Zune device -- but most recently have introduced Zune HD to Canada via the Zune Originals store and remain committed to supporting our devices in North America,” the company said in an e-mailed statement. “We are thrilled by the consumer excitement for Zune across many new platforms, including Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360. Our long-term strategy focuses on the strength of the entire Zune ecosystem across Microsoft platforms.”

That sure doesn't sound like a denial, lending more credence to the Bloomberg claim from "sources familiar". Now, Dave McLauchlan, who does business development at Microsoft for the Zune HD, has now responded in the Anything But Ipod forums, where he's been a member since 2006. While not revealing anything too specific, it sure sounds as if the story is more...complicated...than Bloomberg has made it out to be. We'll just quote the meaty parts of his post:

"I've had tweets, emails, PMs and phone calls. People offering condolences, checking in on me, etc... etc... Stop, stop, stop!

The Bloomberg article is NOT an official statement from Microsoft (apart from the quote above). The headline is purportedly from a "person familiar with the matter" - which of course tells you nothing.

Here's what you should know - ALL consumer electronics products have a lifespan, and the Zune HD is 18mo old. We were completely frank about this year's Zune hardware being the WP7 phones, and we continue to both sell and fully support the Zune HD line of products. And as I've promised - we continue to bring new apps and games to the platform. More of those are in the works, I promise you.

I manage business development for Zune hardware, and I still have that job. Our PR folks released a statement today that included the text: "We’ll share more information about the evolution of the Zune entertainment service and Zune hardware as future plans develop."

To be 100% clear - NO information about our future plans, no matter what the incarnation, has been shared. Until then treat with healthy skepticism anything you read. That's probably a good general rule actually.

So for those who tweeted or emailed asking what I'm "going to do now" - I'll be going to work tomorrow, working on Zune hardware bizdev. And when Microsoft announces news that is actually news, you'll hear it from us directly, and I'll be sure to pass it on immediately. Only then should you take it as gospel."

Cheers, Dave.

We're not 100% sure what to make of this outside he still has a job working on Zune hardware and evidently it's not as black and white as everyone seems to be thinking it is. Of course if Zune hardware is dead, it forces the question of why Microsoft, and now McLauchlan, are pushing backing looking to clarify the matter. Like we said, we think there may be more to this story than what we know so far.

Source: Anything But Ipod Forums; via ZuneBoards; Thanks, @hallucinogen52

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File this one under rumor, with contradictions

The above image comes to us from XDA.cn, which in fairness, does get a high amount of accurate leaks--well, they get it right some of the time. The above rendering is of the supposed HTC Ignite, a device rumored for a mid-2011 release. As Pocketnow notes, the HTC Ignite  is also listed on UK etailer King of Gadgets, so the name may be in use by HTC after all (although to be honest, it sounds like Android for some reason).

The contradictions come into play with the specs: resistive screen and an 800MHz processor? Umm, no. And there's no evidence to suggest that Microsoft is downgrading the chassis requirements. It's not Chassis 2, which are front-qwerty devices with a different resolution and not coming anytime soon, so something is not correct there.

Still, forget all of that: we like this image and HTC should make this design 'cause it's slick as all heck. Reminds a bit of the Nexus S.

Source: XDA.cn; via Pocketnow

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We've heard that the Verizon HTC Trophy is on the cusp of release--we know it's in tester hands, has a NoDo update (though not the latest, whatever that means) and we've heard that "end of March" was the time frame for release. Of course we also heard, though we expressed skepticism, that June may be the date as well.

Well good news, as things look to be sliding towards the end of March, specifically Thursday the 24th. Yes, in just under two-weeks time, Verizon will reportedly begin stocking and selling their first Windows Phone device, which is a global phone to boot. Featuring a 3.8" screen, 16GB of memory and a 5MP camera, the phone should be more than adequate for Verizon users.

The email above comes from our sister site Android Central, who got their hands evidently on a Verizon/third party vendor email. It is noted that "Launch Dates Are subject to change", so anything is possible. But we think Verizon will have more to say at CTIA in Orlando in a few weeks (yes, we'll have people there for coverage). We also expect more info to start pouring out about this phone about....now?

Source: Android Central

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File this under unconfirmed, but probable.

We have a report that people in the Seattle area may have early access to the Sprint HTC Arrive, which will hit Sprint stores around the 20th of this month. Evidently, some Sprint stores are telling customers that they can pick up their phones on the 17th instead--okay, so three whole days is nothing extraordinary, but it's still, not shabby.

Interestingly enough, the reason given for the early release? Microsoft. We know those employees get to pre-order theirs, with the corp paying for each employee to have a phone and we hare they're nearby Seattle. Furthermore, we're told each store should have one Arrive on hand to play with right now...so maybe go hit up your local store and get some one-on-one time, eh? Let us know if you if you do.

Thanks, Bryce, for the heads up!

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In case you see a few sites running a story about being only to install paid-software five times on your Windows Phone before you are basically forced to re-buy the app for the sixth installation, we'd just like to point out that it is false. Or rather, things were lost in translation. The mistake was easy and innocent enough to make: throw in a French Microsoft support forum, some mis-communication and Google translation and you can see how one could confuse five installations vs five devices.

In case anyone remembers, going back to the Windows Mobile days with that Marketplace [Flashback: May, 2009!], you can only install an application on five devices under your Live ID. Anymore than that and you had to login to the Marketplace and literally de-register some phones. This was done to prevent piracy by people just giving out their Live ID and having like 10 people all using the same apps. Well, the same rule applies to Windows Phone 7--if you are lucky enough to have six phones, you'll have to re-purchase apps for one of them--sorry!

This is all spelled out in the Microsoft official knowledge base article on downloads and installations, found here.

Is there a limit to how many devices I can download to?

Yes. According to the licensing terms, customers are allowed to download an application to 5 phones at a time that use the same Windows Live ID.

So put down your pitchforks, take a deep breath and we'll probably have to revisit this topic with Windows Phone 8, won't we?

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Pandora is one of those services that use databases and high end math to answer a simple question, what music would I like? Sadly, Pandora hasn’t made an appearance on Windows Phone 7 yet; though Slacker Radio is a good alternative.

The rumor mill is starting to churn at the possibility that Microsoft is building a social-centric music discovery service codenamed Ventura. Obviously details like cost and scope are unavailable but the thought of having a service like this definitely has us chomping at the bit, especially since Windows Phone would be the perfect platform to push such a service on.

Our hope is that Ventura is a piece to the puzzle as to why the Mango update has been referred to as the "entertainment" branch.

Source: Mary Jo Foley; Via: Business Insider

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