For those who haven't been following, Groupon is the biggest "deal" website on the 'net, helping consumers find the best offers and lowest prices for a variety of items and services. They're also known for turning down a $6 billion offer from Google to buy them out. Yes, we said billion.
Anyways, this super service is coming to Windows Phone in an official capacity sometime soon--and it even features a Live Tile with updated deals (similar to that just-as-awesome Slick Deals app available now). All we know is this is great news for WP7 to land yet another major brand.
Following up the Ballmer keynote, Andy Lees, President, Mobile Communications Business was available for a few questions regarding the recent announcements and more importantly, things that weren't mentioned.
First off, Windows Phone 7 will be getting greater language support by year's end--specifically they'll have 88% of all languages covered, which is large jump from the current 45% (give or take a percent or two). That should be welcomed news for those who have been struggling with not having their native tongue supported. In addition, we're told that keyboard character issues related to specific languages e.g. Polish, will also be fixed this year.
We haven't announced any details on when that form factor is coming out. We are seeing is more interest in larger screens as opposed to smaller screens...but that doesn't mean we're not going to do it but we haven't announced anything yet
So in short, the Chassis 2 spec is still planned but as of now, the focus and consumer demand seems to be on larger screen devices so that is evidently where their resources are being concentrated. C'est la vie.
We did ask a few people, including Any Lees and even Sandisk about that microSD compatibility list and there seems to still be some confusion (the Sandisk rep was unaware) but both parties are going to get back to us on details on how that "certified" system is coming along, stay tuned...
One of the handful of new features heading to Windows Phone 7 is Xbox Live Kinect interface. The interface turns your Windows Phone into a companion for the Kinect gaming system. The above video demos the potential this integration has. No time frame on when such integration will be available was mentioned during Microsoft's Keynote Address at the 2011 Mobile World Congress.
The new feature will definitely expand the Windows Phone 7 role with Xbox Live and make Kinect gaming a lot more interesting.
While many didn't expect much from Microsoft's Keynote Address at the 2011 Mobile World Congress, Steve Ballmer and company did find a way to surprise us. While the first part of the presentation was a re-cap of the progress Windows Phone 7 has made, the Microsoft CEO also touched on how well the new phones are being recieved by consumers. Nine out of ten Windows Phone users would recommend the phones to other and many feel that Windows Phone 7 is the easiest and most delightful to use.
Building phones that people love and that are operator friendly is the top priority at Microsoft. Ballmer also mentioned that the first update for Windows Phone 7 is only a few weeks away, being release in March and will include the copy/paste feature and overall performance enhancements. No surprises there.
The Microsoft keynote at Mobile World Congress definitely didn’t disappoint those of us that have been hungry for more details on the direction of our platform of choice.
One of the main things that Windows Phone 7 has gotten knocked for is the lack of multitasking for third party applications. The big news of the day is that Microsoft has committed to deliver multitasking support for Windows Phone 7 during the 2011 calendar year.
During the keynote, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore demonstrated how multitasking would work. Part of the multitasking interface is seamless. If you navigate away from an application and come back, the application will not only pick up where it left off, but it will do it quickly and efficiently. Belfiore also demonstrated an early view of the task switcher for Windows Phone. Pressing and holding the back button launches the UI (which looks like a poor man’s version of the WebOS card-based interface). We did not see a demo of killing apps.
One of the best things about multitasking for a lot of people is what this means for third-party music apps like Last.fm or Slacker Radio. During the demo we saw Slacker Radio playing in the background while reading email and otherwise using the phone in a normal manner. Additionally, it appears that third-party music apps can be controlled using the playback controls which appear at the top of the screen when the volume buttons are pressed.
All-in-all, this looks to be a big year for Windows Phone 7. Any thoughts on multitasking for Windows Phone? Is this a key feature for you? Talk it up in the comments section!
Update: Hi all, Dieter Bohn here. Tim has broken it down pretty darn well above based on what Microsoft presented today. On top that that, we have a few more details on how multitasking will work on Windows Phone 7 - join us after the break!
We are live at Mobile World Congress, but you knew that. Steve Ballmer is set to give his keynote at 4pm local time, which equates to 10am Eastern in the US. We hope we're going to hear details on the next version of Windows Phone, but with Steve, anything is possible. We're at the Keynote viewing party at Microsoft's digs at the Catalonia hotel, where we will not only watch the Keynote stream but also hit up Microsoft folk for questions after the event. Join us after the break!
Since its inception, suggestions have been scouring the internet on how to improve Windows Phone 7. We ran across an interesting list of suggestions that come from a developer's perspective. While recognizing that Windows Phone 7 is a "modern, well-throughout and refreshing OS" the article concentrates on technical and strategic changes that would help with WP7's longevity.
Along with UI Virtualization and Hardware Acceleration, here are some of the suggestions offered that an end-user might agree with:
Fix Push Notifications: From capping the number of apps that can receive push notifications to the overall reliability of push notifications, this area needs improvements.
Improve the Home Screen: I've grown fond of the Home/Start Screen with Windows Phone 7 but, as suggested on the list, the design comes at the expense of application discovery and usability. Sometimes it just takes forever to swipe down to the app you're looking for. We've heard mention of folders but what about having multiple sets of tiles? Have a Home Screen Hub of sorts?
Update the Back and Search Button Behavior: Change the Back Button functionality to only navigate within the context of an app. Then add a long press that would take you to the previous application. It is also suggested that the Search Button should be contextual to the app running. A long-press would pull up BING and pressing the Search Button on the Home Screen would search your device. These suggestions would help eliminate the accidental presses that send you completely out of an app.
The author also touches on the need for a companion Windows Phone 7 tablet. A tablet allows you to scale up Windows Phone 7 and allows for developers and Microsoft to tap into a secondary market.
I agree with one of the closing thoughts in that Windows Phone success is a matter of execution and strategy. Microsoft has a very good foundation and next month we'll see how the first step in its growth takes shape.
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.
Unlike LG, who seem to have hidden their Windows Phone from the world in turn for Android, Samsung did have their Omnia 7 on display.
Samsung is in the same position as LG too: New high-end Android phone (Galaxy S II) and a new Tablet (Tab 10.1) both of which they are really pushing here in Barcelona (the airport is plastered with advertising). Still, Samsung at least managed to get six of their Euro-Windows Phones on display for others to interact with.
Here's a short video of us playing with it, only because it's (a) a really nice phone and (b) not available here in the U.S., so this may be our only chance (unless we want to drop $500 to import). Of note, we checked the OS version and it's 7.07.7004, meaning this is pre-NoDO and does not have copy-paste (We're hoping maybe someone had loaded it up, but alas, it's no where to be seen).
Today was a big day for LG as they announced their LG Optimus 3D Android phone and 8.9" Android Tablet. Of course, you can head to AndroidCentral for that info. During the Q&A part of the press conference though, someone in the audience asked LG's President and CEO Dr. Jong-Seok Park what he thought of Microsoft's new alliance with Nokia and what it means for LG.
Jong-Seok Park's response was borderline non-answer, but he did emphasize that LG plans to continue with Microsoft and that won't change. And in more of a boast or challenge, Jong-Seok said about Nokia (paraphrasing) "Lets see what they can do".
What was even more telling was at the LG display section on the main floor--which included TVs, their Android Optimus-series, tablets and even "feature" phones, there wasn't a single LG Windows Phone on display. (Or if so, it was well hidden).
One thing that is evident from today is that LG are doing way, way more in terms of hardware with their Android line. The LG Optimus 3D has dual core, dual memory and a dual camera for shooting in 3D. With a 4.3" screen, the device is quite the achievement and believe it or not, the glasses-free 3D ain't too shabby. Unfortunately when you see all the new "super" phones with Android, you realize how stagnant Windows Phone 7 starts to look--Microsoft is not yet in the business of pushing harware technology.
Not a fan of belt cases or shell cases for your Windows Phone but need some protection when you're carrying your phone around in a backpack, purse or briefcase? Krusell might have an solution worth considering. The Krusell Gaia Mobile Pouch is being offered over at the WPCentral Accessory Store that will offer your Windows Phone a considerable amount of protection while your phone bounces around in your backpack.
Krusell offers a wide variety of belt cases that are quality made. The Gaia follows that level of quality nicely but how well does it handle the day to day grind? It's being offered for the HTC Surround and to see how well the Krusell Gaia performed, follow the break.
Not a fan of leather cases for your Windows Phone? Prefer pocket carry but want some level of protection for your phone? Mobi Products may have just what you're looking for in the Hard Shell Case.
The case is being offered for a wide variety of Windows Phones and in an assortment of colors (black, blue, red, purple, and pink). We took the Mobi Hard Shell Case out for a spin with a Samsung Focus and it left a decent impression on us.
To see if this two piece, hard shell case is worth considering just hit the break.
Like to keep track of currency exchange rates? Curious what the latest price of aluminum is? BlackLight Mobile is offering Currency Converter Pro over at the Marketplace that puts a ton of currency exchange information on your Windows Phone.
From simply currency conversion (147 world currencies and 6 metals) to tracking the value of a currency or precious metal Currency Converter Pro is a handy travel application as well a nice travel app. Currency Converter Pro will even provide you with a sample image of the bank note you are researching. Toss in recent currency news and Currency Converter Pro may be a total package.
Ease on past the break to read more on this Windows Phone travel/financial app.
Tarot.com has put together a nice looking horoscope app for your Windows Phone. Daily Horoscope for Windows Phone 7 offers not only general horoscopes for a three day window but will also keep you up to date with moon phases.
Daily Horoscope does require registration (free) to pull up your horoscopes. Not sure why the need for registering exists but it gives you a chance to receive additional information about your horoscope via email. Unless you un-check that particular box.
Follow the break to read more on Daily Horoscope to see if it's an app for your future.