Ever since Microsoft first announced to the world their intentions to “re-imagine” Windows it has been a rather wild ride. Their new touch screen user interface, WinRT wasn't just radical for its looks, it ushered in a totally new apps eco system while simultaneously sending the Start Menu to the technology grave yard.
The changes to the OS ran deep and Microsoft had been busy readying Windows 8/RT to run on the highly power efficient ARM processors. Their plans for that became clearer when they shocked the technology world by announcing their own tablet computer, the Surface. With the changes to Windows came a new declaration that Microsoft re-position themselves as a Devices and Services company. They have built their eco system and the next logical step has been to control the hardware that uses it. The culmination of their efforts in re-imagining Windows and becoming a devices and services company can we seen best in one single product, their Surface tablet running Windows RT.
Sprint has finally confirmed what we already kind of knew for a while now: They will be hopping on the the Windows Phone 8 bandwagon. In an emailed statement to PCMag, the company said that it's cold feet have warmed up and that they will bring Windows Phone 8 on board in 2013:
"Sprint and Microsoft are partnering to bring Windows Phone 8 to Sprint's customers - operating on its 4G LTE network - next year."
There had been inklings that this may happen, like Ting, a Sprint network reseller blogging that it would support the latest version of Windows Phone "sixty days after Sprint has it," but there was plenty of reason to wonder as well. Not only did Sprint kill off it's poorly-selling, yet highly-acclaimed HTC Arrive, but they also put out an internal document stating that there were no Windows Phone 8 devices slated to offered any time soon.
The new Windows Phone 8 sync client has been received with mixed reviews. On the one hand, people like the new modern UI look and exceptionally minimalist feature set. But perhaps it was a bit too barren?
Luckily the Windows Phone 8 sync client (for Windows 8) has been updated today to version 1.1.2303 and indeed the syncing ability for music and media has been refined. You can see in our before and after shots that your music is now place into what look like Tile/Folders as opposed to just “slots”. Right click on the folder will give you the ability to add the UI common “check” allowing you to sync that whole folder. If we had to guess, we’d say Microsoft purposefully made it much more “touch friendly” for you Surface and touchscreen users.
Samsung ATIV S - First to announce and last to market
Yesterday we commented how Samsung appears to be late to the Windows Phone 8 train with their ATIV S smartphone. While not as visually eye-catching as HTC or Nokia's offerings, the device has strong appeal to the smartphone traditionalists out there or just those who want every high spec tossed into a phone. Sporting a 4.8" display, 32GB of onboard storage (with an expansion card option), dual-core 1.5Ghz CPU, a massive 2300 mAh battery and a slick, metal finish, the phone has its fans.
From our perspective, Windows Phone 8 is interesting for numerous reasons: new kernel, over-the-air updates and a re-commitment by Microsoft in making sure the OS stays competitive. In that sense, knowing that a new version of the OS is floating around, especially one for an odd market like China (who have many restrictions) is far from shocking.
Nokia has announced availability and pricing for both the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 Windows Phones at a press event held in Dubai, UAE. We previously looked at reports the Finnish manufacturer was planning to launch handsets in theGCC market, which has now been officially confirmed with said announcements.
Altern8 is a puzzle game for your Windows Phone that offers you an alternative to mazes with walls. Instead of having your movement restricted by traditional walls, Altern8 restricts your movements through maze puzzles by colored squares.
You move through a grid of colored squares, alternating the colored squares you land on, as you seek the exit. Altern8 has five gaming modes, five difficulty levels and four color pairs. Altern8 is a fun, change of pace styled game that is worth a try if you're looking for a game to play while passing the time.
The Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone has entered the world of Minecraft in a very creative fashion. The Lumia 920 model was created by Minecraft player Gokuroyu, took 14 days to complete and includes over 370,000 blocks.
And it's not just the outershell. Gokuroyu takes us inside the inner workings of the Lumia 920 to display the camera, memory storage, XBox Music and more.
If news of the Lumia 920 selling out in China, but then being withheld due to incorrect pricing, wasn't enough then we've also got word that both Telstra and Clove have both sold out in the first day of going live. It appears (depending on how many units were stocked in the first batch) demand is high for the handsets - even at full / the correct price.
Amazon China has sent out emails to customers who managed to place an order for the Lumia 920T stating that all orders have been cancelled. The Nokia Windows Phone 8 handset was underpriced (3599 Yaun / $570) and subsequently sold out in just 30 minutes.
While we still don’t know what it will contain, or rather if it will have more than just a new Start screen, we always knew it was destined to come after Windows Phone 8 comes out. Now, Windows Phone Brazil (official Twitter account), has responded to a question about that update to current Windows Phones. The answer is that the 7.8 update is expected for Brazil in Q1 2013, which sounds about right to us (and is vague enough to leave some wiggle room).
Hey, look at that! The Nokia Lumia 810 exclusively for T-Mobile showed up on our doorstep and we decided to film us opening her up.
Now although Mobile Nations guru Phil Nickinson played with a dummy Lumia 810, yours truly has not had a chance to even touch one—so this will be my first “hands on” with T-Mobile’s new device. Off the cuff? The screen, even at 4.3” and 800x480 is really bold, bright and eye popping, due in part to some ClearBlack and an OLED display. It also blends seamlessly with that soft-touch black body, which feels quite nice to hold...
The Wall Street Journal’s All Things D is reporting that effective immediately, Windows unit President Steve Sinofsky is leaving the company. The move is considered to be "mutual" and deals in large part to Sinofsky not being a "team player", evidently rubbing some executives in other divisions the wrong way. It’s a shocking move because if anyone, Sinofsky has become the face of the new direction of Microsoft, having “saved” Windows 7 and pushing Redmond towards Windows 8 and beyond.
All Things D go on to say that “…Sinofsky deputies. Julie Larson-Green will head up the engineering side of Windows, while Tami Reller, who has had headed marketing and served as the unit’s CFO, will have responsibility for the business side of things.”
We've been so busy around here that we forgot our own Mobile Nations roving reporter Simon Sage managed to get some one on one time with the Samsung ATIV S (see our camera samples from earlier). The ATIV S is headed to Rogers in Canada, among a few other lucky networks (no such luck here in the States, at least so far).
The video is fun to watch only because you can get to peep how big that 4.8" screen is and how great it looks in AMOLED. Throw in that super thin body, a massive 2300 mAh battery, 32GB of storage, memory expansion and yeah, we're wanting to play with one. It's also interesting to note that you can turn the phone on via the physical Win key--the only Windows Phone 8 device with such a configuration--kudos to Sammy for that one. Too bad we can't think of a way for Nokia or HTC to do the same and keep their slick designs. Can't have it all!
Other than that most of the video is just a tour of Windows Phone 8, which many of you should be familiar with by now.
Marketing, it's always been hit or miss with Windows Phone over the past two years with not any in particular sticking. Things might be a little different this time around with Microsoft picking up a couple of big celebrities to pimp the platform.