We'll just leave this foolery here for you to ponder. For those who need context, you're welcome. Does it mean anything that ours goes for half the price as compared to the iPhone? Oh and don't forget tax on top of that $499 too.
SPB Software was a major developer on the Windows Mobile front but with the design of Windows Phone 7, we haven't seen any transition by SPB to WP7. Earlier we reported that SPB was waiting to see demand from users first. Still curious as to whether or not Windows Phone 7 was on SPB's drawing board, we decided to reach out to the developer and received the following response from SPB.
For sure we are planning to port some of our applications to Windows Phone 7. Some of them would work very well on it (e. g. SPB Wallet, SPB Finance), for others porting might not have much sense (e. g. SPB Mobile Shell).
Seeing that there is still the possibility of SPB titles transitioning to Windows Phone 7, what titles would you like to see SPB offer for WP7? I wouldn't mind seeing SPB News, Wallet, or Traveler make the move. You could also make the case that if HTC can have a Sense Hub, why couldn't SPB have a Mobile Shell hub?
We knew the HTC HD7 had a nice screen and but in a recent screen test that pitted the Windows Phone 7 device against the iPhone 4 and Samsung Nexus S, the HD7 beat out the Super AMOLED screen of the Nexus S. While the Windows Phone was able to surpass the Nexus S, it wasn't strong enough to beat out the iPhone.
The screens were subjected to three different types of tests;
Scientific measurements using a chromameter to test the brightness, black level, and contrast ratio.
Test pattern screens used to test for color tracking errors, 24-bit color and font legibility.
Real world, anecdotal testing using 3D games and photos.
To sum up the test results:
On the HD7: "The HD7 displayed mostly accurate color; however, the color did show evidence of being washed out in certain tests. Also, the phone's gallery app may have a bandwidth problem, which resulted in blurry text in our tests. We'll need to do more testing though to confirm."
On the Nexus S: "The Nexus S saw an incredible contrast ratio thanks to its OLED screen. Also, it displayed fonts smoothly and legibly and passed the Coke can test with only minimal dithering. Unfortunately the Nexus S failed in most of our other tests, especially color tracking, white level saturation, and false contouring. The Nexus S was the least impressive of the three."
On the iPhone: "The iPhone 4 was the best overall performer of the three phones we tested. The iPhone 4 was capable of displaying 24-bit color and was able to display colors in games and pictures with pop and life while still being accurate. The iPhone 4 won in most of our scientific tests and also had the best performance overall in our real-world tests. Once again, the iPhone 4 has the best smartphone screen on the market."
It's great to see the HTC screen measure up so well. However, with our experience with the Super AMOLED screen of the Samsung Focus (which we think is very good), it was a little surprising to see that the Nexus's screen was the least impressive of the three. I'd be curious to see how well the Focus's Super AMOLED screen would have faired?
Ever wanted to just rip apart your Samsung Focus and check out all of the innards? Yeah, neither did we, but looks like the fine folks at TechRepublic have decided to do it for us. Nice.
In a large series of photographs, they take a fully-functional Focus and disassemble all the PCB boards and reveal the abundant chips on board from Qualcomm, Micron, Fairchild, SiliconBlue, Avago, and Skyworks, some of which we list below:
Fairchild Semiconductor FSA9280A USB 2.0 switch
SanDisk SDIN4C2-8G 8GB NAND flash RAM
Samsung SWB-B23 Bluetooth IC
1.0GHz Qualcomm QSD8250 Snapdragon processor
Qualcomm PM7540 power management
The interesting part is the usage of Sandisk NAND memory as opposed to Samsung's own high performance variant which features "...the industry’s first 20nm-based NAND flash chips". Instead, the Sandisk is the older 32nm, which is not nearly as fast as the newer stuff. But hey, no complaints on our end, though it would have been nice, no?
Max and the Magic Marker, another WiiWare title ported to WP7, currently has the most positive user-submitted reviews that I've read from any of the games in the Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace. There's a really good reason for that. It's a great game with an appeal for a wide demographic. Youngsters will love the vibrant, imaginative gameplay and the cool characters. Cold-hearted cynics, like yours truly, will really get a kick out of the seamless combination of platforming and puzzle-solving mechanics that work phenomenally well with the little-big-kid heroics of the blissfully unfolding plot.
Read on to discover why Max deserves the hype and why the term 'magic marker' instead of just 'marker' became common vernacular.
Although we prefer AppFinder for searching the Marketplace for new wares, it's nice to know Microsoft is still tweaking things a lil' bit on their end. Evidently, in the last 24hrs, Microsoft has added keyword-search to the Marketplace, making it very slightly easier to find apps based on topic as opposed to just searching by title alone.
As you can see in the image to the left, searching for Google brings up a few apps with Google not in the title, which is probably a welcome feature for developers too. But as you can also see, music still pops up to confuse your results, which leads us back to AppFinder...
We know from previous reports that Verizon (and Sprint) are close to launching Windows Phone 7--by all accounts January is the big month--and now we're starting to see some real evidence.
Three apps--Slacker Radio, Netflix and My Verizon Mobile (to manage your account)--all tailored for Verizon, are now live in the Marketplace. While nothing crazy about it, it's nice to know that our CDMA brethren will be getting in on some of this WP7 love sooner than later.
Well that didn't take too long. Just a few hours after announcing that they were coming, Microsoft has gone ahead and pushed the publish button, releasing Pocket God and Fruit Ninja, each fetching for a fair $2.99.
We're betting both games should be big hits as these are the kinds of titles that causal gamers are looking for on mobile phones these days. Give 'em a spin and let us know in comments your thoughts! (In the meantime, I'm going to unleash my inner-vengeful God in a very un-P.C. way on some Pygmies...)
Yesterday we had AppFinder, today we have AppTracker. The latter allows you to look up software and their corresponding reviews, which by itself is not that amazing. What makes AppTracker unique is that you can "follow" specified apps for quick "look ups" on their performance with customers. That's a great tool for developers to keep abreast of how their app is fairing with their customers and makes a worthy download.
For consumers, it's a great tool to look up reviews worldwide of an app that they are interested in to better gauge if it is worth their time. Considering it's a free app, we like how it performs and think it's a great tool for those who want to know. Grab it here to take it for a spin.
Update: The developers of AppTracker, VerySoftware, let us know that "Version 1.0 is available FREE for a limited time whilst we work hard on boosting the app's feature set, so grab it fast." So you may want to grab it now, just in case!
Although Windows Phone 7 is "consumer focused" with only light enterprise support (for now, future updates look to address this weakness), Microsoft is still interested in courting those in the non-consumer environment. In addition to their general WP7 for Business Page, Microsoft has just posted several specific articles to help IT Professionals integrate Windows Phone 7 in a business environment. The guides, which can be downloaded in PDF form, include Internet Explorer, Exchange integration, and security management.
To revisit that old controversy, microSD cards and Windows Phone 7, it looks like manufacturer PNY has entered the arena, claiming that there new microSD cards are "Now compatible with Windows Phone 7 smartphones". Of course, we've seen this before, so lets just hope this time PNY have their act together, unlike Sandisk.
The cards come in 8 and 16GB class 4 flavors with no 32GB yet available. Better yet, you can reportedly pick them up right at your local Best Buy. So, who's going to give it a shot?
Edit: Talk about misleading. PNY may be claiming the movie service, not the "microSD card for cellphones" is compatible. with Windows Phone 7. Although user reports suggest that PNY do work well with WP7, it looks like this is still a grey area for now.
Whoa ho ho! Look at this little announcement just tweeted by Microsoft's Michael Klucher. Looks like tomorrow, the usual release day for Xbox LIVE titles, will be bringing two popular iPhone games to our side of town: Fruit Ninja and Pocket God.
For those who don't know or keep track of these things, both titles are up there with Angry Birds as far as popularity, meaning this is a huge win for our platform. And while Pocket God was known to be coming "soon" (see earlier coverage), Fruit Ninja (see their site) was something we forgot about (though it was mentioned in the original "50" list). Both titles are on Android too and doing very well, but it's good to see that we're catching up by acquiring these big names.
A few weeks ago we showed you Lyrics by musiXmatch, a sweet free app that pulled down lyrics to virtually any song you were listening to through Zune. While the app was free and it worked well it was missing something...the ability to scroll automagically through the lyrics, like a karaoke machine.
PicoLyrics ($1.29) does just that by syncing up a a community server where people (somehow) log the lyrics and time-cues to thousands of songs. In turn, PicoLyrics functions the same way as Lyrics--it integrates with Zune, uses 3G to pull down songs, etc. But it has a cleaner UI and the scrolling bit just makes it truly great. We feel $1.29 is a bit high for the app, with $0.99 being the sweet spot (or free and ad-supported) but we bought it anyways because it worked so well.
Version 1.1 just hit, bringing landscape support and bug fixes (no longer crashes when it can't find a song). While it may not find every single song out there, it did a pretty good job for our library and we're pleased with it. The app has a trial period of ten minutes, yes, you heard that right. Although after using it for ten minutes, you should know how you feel about it.
You can grab it here on your phone or Zune desktop.
The Harvest was one of the premier gaming titles to launch with Windows Phone 7 back a few months ago and while the game has received favorable reviews (see ours here), stability was a problem. In fact, the game was recently pulled due to so many issues but has just reappeared sporting a v1.1 update and fixes all around.
So if you had given up on the $6.99 game, despite its awesome graphics and RPG game play, you may want to give it another go as things seem to be much better.
Microsoft has finally gone on the record regarding sales of Windows Phone 7. Guess what?They weren't telling us before because they were embarrassed by the numbers (or rather, they should not be). In an official press release and interview with Achim Berg, vice president of business and marketing for Windows Phones, Berg goes on record about sales figures, expectations and other aspects of Windows Phone 7. The big part of the interview, though, is where Berg discusses those numbers:
News Center: Windows Phone 7 has been in market for almost two months now worldwide, how are sales going?
Berg:Sales are ramping well as our reputation is growing for offering users a unique experience and are in line with our expectations – especially when compared to other new platform introductions...
...Another is phone manufacturer sales – phones being bought and stocked by mobile operators and retailers on their way to customers. We are pleased that phone manufacturers sold over 1.5 million phones in the first six weeks, which helps build customer momentum and retail presence.
Of course, Microsofthas famously launched Windows Phone 7 "worldwide" on nine different devices, so making a direct comparison to the iPhone or Android not exactly accurate. Clearly, Apple had more momentum on launch even when severely hampered by supply shortages and a U.S. only launch. Still, 1.5 million is not too bad for a company many had written off in the mobile space and combined with their 18,000 developers (and growing), we think Microsoft is certainly in a good position in the end of 2010. Coming in 2011 we have "wave 2" of devices, Chassis 2 designs, numerous major updates and further roll-out of new product synergies (Xbox, Zune, Windows 8, etc.). Sounds good to us because Microsoft is ready to fight.
Speaking of updates, Berg said this, which we'll leave you with: "...We are on a path to begin releasing the first of several updates in the next couple of months".