Rumors

File this under rumor but plausible: Raphael Rivera of ChevronWP7 and who seems to have an inside track with Microsoft (see the Arrive prediction), is claiming that the AT&T Focus should be getting both the pre-NoDo and NoDo update this Monday.

AT&T devices have so far been left out of the pre-NoDo update fun, leaving many to believe that carriers are actively blocking the fix, regardless of evidence. Instead, it looks to be what Microsoft has been saying all along: carriers are testing and will roll out the update accordingly. AT&T seems to be taking the approach of doing both at the same time, getting it all out of the way for at least their Focus customers. Interestingly, this Monday is the 7th, which puts right around that rumored March 8th release date a few weeks ago.

Will it happen? We think so, so tune in Monday to see the fireworks. Lets hope that Microsoft/Samsung/AT&T can pull this off...lots of eyes will be on one of the most popular Windows Phone to date.

Source: @WithinRaphael, part 2 (Twitter)

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Paul Thurrott has written a nice overview of the whole NoDo/pre-NoDo update situation that has been going on for the last two weeks. While the article mostly covers old ground for our readers, there were a few bits of information that he mentioned in the story, specifically not all good things:

  • Carriers blocked the 'NoDo update' - Thurrott has mentioned this previously that MS finished NoDo back in December but "several wireless carriers unceremoniously blocked the update, creating an embarrassing situation for the software giant."
  • Verizon will announce the Trophy this month - we've heard this before, but is that the launch date too? Sometimes people use "announce" interchangeably with "launch" and we're not sure which Thurrott means here. We've heard an unconfirmed and skeptical rumor that the Trophy may be pushed back.
  • Mango by end of 2011? Doubtful. -  Microsoft themselves have stated that 'Mango' is scheduled for "later this year", with most thinking by Fall, 2011. Heck, even the leaked Dell roadmap hints at "next gen" WP7 as early as July. Thurrott is hearing it could be pushed back: "Mango will be finalized by the end of 2011, and while Microsoft recently promised to ship this release to customers by the end of the year as well, my sources tell me that schedule is a near impossibility."

All in all, two of three of those are not good news for the platform (and the Verizon bit was already known). Did a few carriers block 'NoDo'? We haven't heard that from anywhere else but it could be a possibility. We know we've heard that Dell was delaying things a bit with their hardware issues, but this is the first we've heard that some carriers blocked it. Everyone is rooting for Microsoft here to get these updates our and get the OS up to speed, but so far these updates are not progressing too well.

Update: Mary Jo Foley still thinks Mango will ship this year.

Source: Windows IT Pro

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There have been some rumblings around internet of users experiencing some issues regarding Contacts on their WP7 phones.  While we haven't experienced them ourselves (Edit: our pal Paul Acevedo has), there seem to be two things happening.

Firstly, people are reporting that Contact tiles are pinned to the Start screen will randomly disappear.  The contacts themselves remain on the phone, but the tiles get removed from the Start screen.  While some of this could be attributed to an unlocked screen being put into a pocket, there are cases where several disappear at once. 

The second bug involves linked contacts.  When you have the same contact in two places, like email and Facebook, WP7 will automatically linked the two.  Allegedly, users have seen these links broken in some cases, be it links made automatically by the OS or ones that have been manually created.

So far, this is all anecdotal, but there are enough cases being talked about that it could point to an actual bug in WP7. 

What say you?  Have you come across any of these issues on your WP7 devices?

Source: WindowsPhoneSecrets

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Some info we received seems to confirm that the upcoming Sprint 7 Pro goes by the model number HTC T7575. This comes from the breakdown of the ROM, which yielded some interesting, but still cursory information. For instance, it will have

  • Qualcomm and Broadcom chipsets on board
  • Broadcom 802.11 DHD Network Adapter ("with 11nmode disabled")
  • Sprint Navigator is there
  • Sprint Zone
  • HTC Hub, Stocks
  • WM7_7.0_11_JAN" "ParentBranchBuild"="7389" aka 'NoDo'
  • "TimeStamp"="20110124-1636" (Finalized 1/24/2011)

Interestingly, there's a few AT&T references thrown in, suggesting that Ma Bell may get this device too, which would not surprise us in the least. As to the bad news, there's really no evidence that this has WiMax (4G) on board, so never say never, but don't get your hopes up either--not looking good.

Also of note, when we used WP7 game developer's Elbert Perez's stats page, we saw a few listings for unknown phones, evidently being used in testing:

  1. HTC T7575 (now known as the CDMA 7 Pro)
  2. Samsung GT-I8703 - ?
  3. HTC MWP6985 - ?

The Samsung was speculated by other sites to be an Android device, but alas, it's playing Elbert's games meaning this is a hitherto unknown Samsung Windows Phone, quite possibly a CDMA variant of the Focus or Omnia 7. Likewise, the HTC MWP6985 is also a Windows Phone, but we have no info on it (the CDMA Trophy is the HTC PC40200, so probably not that).

Anyone have anything they'd like to add to the discussion?

Thanks, Manos P., for getting us started

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Here's what we know:

  1. The Sprint 7 Pro ROM is finalized, ready for shipment
  2. They were waiting on the NoDo update for CDMA support
  3. We've heard that it's coming in early March from Raphael Rivera
  4. Sprint is announcing a new phone this Thursday

Call us crazy, but we think this is the big announcement for the HTC 7 Pro which many of us have been waiting on since...well October when we were first told Sprint was getting it. The slider device has an excellent keyboard, 3.6" screen and an excellent build quality (here's a review of the GSM version, which should tell you everything). Sure, this could be another Android device but we're leaning towards definitely HTC 7 Pro.

Update: Seems to be confirmed now, see this post.

Source: Sprint (Twitter)

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While we don't have any visual confirmation of this, lets just say it makes sense. We're getting a report that the Dell Venue Pro is already shipping with the NoDo update on board, ready for some copy-n-paste action---at least in India (did we just let you down a bit? Sorry.). Reader Vinod writes to tell us:

"My friend just picked up a new Dell Venue Pro in India. And it has the NoDo (copy-paste) update already applied! The moment I saw the copy icon appearing on his phone, I yelled and started trying it out! Works exactly as advertised and in the emulator"

Like we said, it makes sense. Just like how that leaked Sprint 7 Pro finalized ROM has now been confirmed to have NoDo on board, we can expect some devices rolling off the factory floors to have the update already applied, as OEMs have been working with the update for a few months already. All we know is we're getting darn close! (Interestingly enough, we tried every single WP7 device on display at Mobile World Congress, not one had the update applied--looks like MS didn't let anyone slip it there)

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This afternoon we attended the "Windows Phone developers day" at Mobile World Congress, during which an extensive Q&A was held that involved various heads of the Windows Phone development team, including Larry Liberman, Bryan Agnetta, Joe Marini, Rob Cameron and Brandon Watson.

A question that Microsoft is commonly asked involves the TCP-socket layer support and whether or not Windows Phone will make it accessible for developers. Socket-layers are critically needed for such services as VOIP aka Skype, Viber, etc. We now know that multitasking is coming to Windows Phone 7 with 'Mango' but now we have a very strong hint that socket-support, in some way, may be coming as well. Those two features are necessary for VOIP. [For a complete background, see J2i.net for relevant points]

Watson does the talking here but dare we say, if you read between the lines you get the feeling that (1) MIX11 will be huge for developers in terms of new features (that are coming with 'Mango') and that (2) Socket-support is a strong contender for a new feature, allowing developers to finally expand beyond simple web-based software. One thing is clear is that Microsoft does not want to disappoint consumers or developers and they are working hard to roll out new features for both, as quickly as possible.

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Rafael Rivera of CheveronWP7 fame has tweeted that Sprint customers will be enjoying Windows Phone 7 in the first two weeks of March. And the phone of choice for Sprint shall be the HTC 7 Pro. This makes sense as we just saw the leaked, finalized ROM for the Sprint 7 Pro, which hints as near release.

To date, the official time frame for a CDMA Windows Phone 7 is sometime during the first half of 2011 (March would qualify). This time frame also mirrors the release date (early March) for the first WP7 update, "NoDo", that will contain CDMA support as well as copy/paste and performance enhancements.

There was speculation that the "NoDo" update was delayed due to carriers. Could the carrier delay have been to allow Sprint time to get ready for a Windows Phone launch? Nothing official from Sprint or Microsoft confirming this but March will be here before you know it. 

Source: Twitter; Thanks goes out to TimN for the tip!

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8

Is Mango Windows Phone 7.5?

Now that Microsoft has officially mentioned a major update in the pipeline, we can start up the rumor mills full force.

We’ve discussed the new features that "Mango" will bring to the table; but the timeframe (other than a 6-month window) and official name remain nebulous. A number of media outlets are conjecturing that the Mango release will be significant enough that it could be dubbed Windows Phone 7.5, which would fit with past naming conventions like Windows Mobile 6.5. The speculation is that the update will be something of an interim release between the current iteration of the Windows Phone OS and the alignment between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

Stay tuned here for any updates, we’ll be keeping you posted as news breaks.

Source: WinRumors

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Long Zheng at iStartedSomething has gone through those device renders by Nokia with a fine toothed comb and has turned out some potentially interesting information.

In short, there are too many tiles on the screen for the Nokia devices and when he looked closer, he notoiced that the screen resolution is similar to that of other Nokia phones. From this he extrapolates that perhaps Nokia will be reusing their own hardware for their Windows Phones, to reduce production costs and speed, and that may be the reason for the change.

Our thoughts? Maybe, but we're erring on the side of no.

As more details have come out from the Nokia-Microsoft partnership, what comes across is how fast it was thrown together (in fact, as far as we know, the deal is not completely signed off on). From Elop himself during last night's Q&A, he mentioned how it was only Thursday that the Nokia board gave their permission for the Microsoft deal. That's some mighty short timing and we can't help but think that these renders, while very nice, do not actually tell us much about the design intentions of Nokia and Windows Phone.

Still, rumors are floating about a revision to the chassis requirement, including new resolutions. But we think it odd that this news would first show up in some quick phone renderings. We'll keep an ear our though for more info.

Update: Absolutely not. In speaking with some higher-ups at Microsoft, we can definitely say there is no new screen resolution, nor is Nokia changing that area. It was indeed a mockup thrown together quickly and is not meant to respresnet any final product. But, we can confirm that Microsoft and Nokia on the engineering level have been working together "for some time" which should speed up device-to market time.

Source: iStartedSomething

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While we've generally tried to stray from pinning down an exact date to the Windows Phone 'NoDo' update in addition to posting unsourced rumors on the topic (well, we try), at least this latest one has some things going for it: a name, a place and some pics.

The latest rumor suggests that the Windows Phone 'NoDo' update is coming in early March. We won't say "delayed" because as far as we know, Microsoft has never set a public date. What we do know is that they will most definitely discuss the 800lb gorilla in the room next week at the Mobile World Congress (yes, we'll be there for it).

French site WindowsPhoneFR has the origin of this early March rumor: it stems from an event at TechDays 2011 ("a sort of lounge / conference dedicated to developers, to learn about the latest technology, latest techniques and recent projects" involving Microsoft). The conference was in Paris at the Palais des Congres and one of the editors of WindowsPhoneFR, Julian Vu, was there--so that's why we're posting this.

Samsung had a stand there with a representative and the question was directly asked:

Q: When will the update for Windows 7 Phone?

Samsung A: Probably early March, we will confirm at the Mobile World Congress in mid-February.

So there you go, that's where this all started. Is it true? Maybe. Either way, if you can hold for just a few more days, we're pretty sure we'll get the skinny from Micrsoft themselves, so no use getting in a twist over the exact date, m'kay? Update: The story also jives with one similar posted on WinExtra.

Udpate 2: Mary Jo Foley is confirming ealry March as well now with even more detail

Big thanks to Fabien Patou at WindowsPhoneFR for the heads up!

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It started with an open letter from financial analyst Adnaan Ahmad, addressed to CEOs Steve Ballmer (Microsoft) and Stephen Elop (Nokia), explaining the mutual benefits that could arise from the two tech titans teaming up.  What came next was a flurry of rumors that it might happen and show of confidence from stock traders.  In the days since Ahmad posted his letter, Nokia's stock prices have risen more than 4%, a sign that those in the market may be trying to show a vote of confidence in Ahmad's wishful thinking.

Though these rumors have been bubbling ever since Elop left his post at Microsoft to take over as Nokia's CEO, Elop said last week that the phone maker might "create and/or join other ecosystems," lending further credence to possibility.  Spokesmen from both companies have refused to comment on the validity of the rumors, but there is speculation from those in the know that Elop is going to announce the news during an upcoming speech on February 11.

Be it true or not, Nokia needs to do something soon.  They have been steadily declining in market share, and according to some recent analytics, have already lost the number one spot to Android. 

Source: New York Times; Via: Seattle Pi Blogs (Nick Eaton)

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The future of Sony in the smartphone market has two major considerations for Windows Phone:

1) Will Sony make a Windows Phone 7 device?

2) Will Sony push their PlayStation platform on other mobile OSs?

The answer to the first is maybe. More specifically, Sony is keeping the door open to make a Windows Phone in the future, but as far as anyone knows, there's nothing immediately on the horizon. One reason for that is that some speculate Sony would not embrace a phone that makes the Xbox 360 its centerpiece. After all, this may seem to downplay Sony's own efforts in mobile gaming.

Sony though seems to be taking a mild mannered approach to the issue, suggesting that they are in fact, hardware/software neutral when it comes to their mobile PlayStation suite (prominently launching on Android). In a press event, SCE CEO Kaz Hirari stated:

We're focusing first on Android... There's also Windows [Phone], iOS and so forth, but we don't have the resources to make it compatible with everything from the start.

The statement is an echo of a recent meeting where Sony previously described the PlayStation suite as "hardware neutral". This seems to take out the argument that Sony won't ever do a Windows Phone either due to fears of competition in mobile gaming. In fact, we could imagine Sony doing a Windows Phone featuring Sony mobile gaming on it. But now the ball is in Microsoft's court: would they allow such a deal and partnership to go forward? This could be an interesting next few months and we'll try to grill Sony on this issue at Mobile World Congress in a few weeks.

Source: PocketGamer

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6

HTC Mozart coming to T-Mobile? [Rumor]

Our friends at TmoNews are reporting form one of their trusted sources that the HTC Mozart may be coming to T-mobile rather soon.

The device has that aluminum uni-body design, giving it one of the most solid builds we've experienced of any Windows Phone. It also features a rather impressive 8MB camera with dual xenon flash, 3.7" capacitive screen and a super bright LED for charging (seriously, it's blinding). There's also hints that it may come int 8GB and 16GB versions, though more details are needed. 

Anyone looking to pick up this bad boy? From our usage of it (sans U.S. 3G) it's one of the most svelte phones we've handled. Peep the video above of Dieter taking our Mozart for a spin...

Source: TmoNews; Thanks John C, for the tip!

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Yeah, so we've fallen over the whole AlphaJax craze (see George's double review of it and Spell It!; my thoughts here)

An obvious next step for the app would be for Xbox LIVE support--after all it already has great asynchronous game play/multiplayer support, push updates and is just a solid app. But not many games have gone from non-Xbox status to Xbox LIVE certified--actually we can't think of any. That's because to get that coveted status, you need to do a lot of collaboration with Microsoft and meet their very high standards to get access to the LIVE universe.

Will AlphaJax be the first to transition? We don't know but on their Facebook page, they strongly hint at the possibility. When asked about Xbox LIVE support they responded with "stay tuned...!"

Oh we will, we will. Thanks, Ricardo Dawkins for the tip

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Mediaroom is Microsoft's official IPTV streaming option and it provides a lot of media ability--in fact Mediaroom 2.0 was just announced at CES and offers "...whole-home digital video recording, on-demand capabilities, access to both operator-hosted content and Internet TV, and interactive applications.". It's like AT&T's U-verse but better.

Or Google TV but not full of fail.

As Microsoft slowly but steadily continues to merge all of their properties into one (Xbox 360, Mediaroom, Windows Phone 7, Zune, SkyDrive, Office, LIVE services, etc.) it only makes sense that they would be working on a way to take Mediaroom 2.x and integrate on Windows Phone 7 in some official capacity. Indeed, according to Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet, that is what project 'Rome' is all about.

Supposedly Roz Ho, who worked on "Project Pink" aka KIN is involved on the Mediaroom/Rome project which looks to bring all of Microsoft's media capabilities into one offering: Xbox 360, Mediacenter PC, Windows Phone, etc. hence the name 'Rome' as all roads lead to it.

No word on planned release time frame, but we're thinking that second big update aka 'Mango', later this year, may be a good time.

Source: ZDNet; via electronista; Thanks, Enzo, for the tip

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Although we like the weekly Tues/Wed excitement of our 2-fer Xbox LIVE games (like today), sometimes it's nice to peek ahead. Evidently, the site Xbox 360 Achievements is able to pull down "Achievement" info, hence the data here.

We imagine these are games really close to being released which is why their data is flowing around a bit:

  • Deal or No Deal
  • Game Chest - Board Games
  • Centipede (Game Room)
  • Backgammon
  • I Dig It
  • Implode XL
  • Super Monkey Ball 2
  • Zombie Attack 2: Second Wave

Anything there really catch your fancy? Did we miss anything on that list? If our count is correct, that's exactly 1 months worth of titles. Tune in next week to see if this was accurate or not...either way, more games = good.

Source: Xbox360Acheievements; Thanks, Eric A., for the tip!

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6

Halo: Nation coming to WP7?

Halo has been previously reported to be coming to the Windows Phone 7 platform, especially around the list of planned releases last year prior release of the OS. At CES, which we were able to cover, Steve Ballmer presented and discussed a number of games coming to the mobile platform. Among these were Fable: Coin Golf and PES 2011 along with many already-confirmed titles, but there was one mention that caught some attention – Halo: Nation.

For any Halo fan, this could mean two things. First (and hopefully correct) there could be a potential Halo title arriving to Xbox Live on WP7 named Halo: Nation. What’s exciting about this prospect is what genre it could be: FPS (probably unlikely), RTS (Halo: Wars on-the-go anyone?) or even a racing alternative (Rocket Race game type on Halo: Reach?). The system and available resources from the devices that run WP7 have enough power to provide the foundations of a truly epic game from Bungie.

A second scenario could be the Halo: Nation podcast is making an appearance on Waypoint that is already available in the Marketplace, and could in-fact not be the extension to the franchise that many of us are hoping for. Although Ballmer was reportedly "confused” with the projects he was discussing, Halo: Nation is noted as being developed separately from Waypoint but a Halo title coming to WP7 is all continued (hopeful) speculation.

Could Halo: Nation be the WP7 title that us Master Chief fans have been waiting for? Or did Ballmer just get the name wrong?

Source: Electronic Theatre

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For our Windows Phone crowd, GeoHot aka George Hotz was famous for his working on jailbreaking the iPhone a few years ago and more recently for jailbreaking the Sony PS3 (and getting sued for it, no less).

In a brief post on his website, he noted his legal troubles and updates in general but ended with this curious bit:

"perhaps a more appropriate way to deal with jailbreakers

I'm going out to buy a Windows 7 phone"

The "more appropriate way" he's referring to was yesterday's meeting with ChevronWP7 and Watson's team who do take piracy seriously but also see the need for community and appropriate outreach. Plus they made a funny. Indeed, Microsoft's approach is vastly different than Apple's and certainly Sony's.

Whether or not GeoHot was serious about purchasing a Windows Phone or not remains to be seen, but hey...if so, welcome George to the good side.

Update: And Brandon Watson as usual brings the welcome to George:

Source: GeoHot; via: Windows Pone 7 Central

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So for all of us that were hoping that Microsoft and Bungie were secretly working on a Halo-port, we can probably stop now, or at least diminish it a bit. According to CVG, Bungie put out a job request for a senior mobile application programmer to startup their mobile gaming entry to the market:

Bungie is embarking on a new and challenging journey and if you have a serious passion for mobile application development we want you to be a part of it. Our mobile development team is focused on establishing real time connectivity for millions of users and terabytes of data. Join our team and define the interface of Bungie's next gaming universe to the world.

So it sounds like Bugie is just getting started on the whole "mobile gaming" thing, which is obviously the next-big thing in 2011. That's the good news. The bad news is, as previously noted, it doesn't sound like we'll be getting many titles from them for at least nine to twelve months. Of course, Microsoft has been aggressive in this area, so no reason that Microsoft Game Studios couldn't have something up their sleeves in conjunction with Bungie, but chances are looking a little more slim today. The only positive side is that at least the gaming hardware should be pretty redonk in a year, right?

Oh, and it's not too inspiring that they call it "Windows Mobile" in the advert nor that they mention iOS--twice. Sigh.

Source: Bungie; via: CVG, TechRadar

 

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