As you may have heard, Rogers mobile will be offering the Dell Venue Pro in March. According to a tipster, pricing on the vertical slider will be $149.99 with a 3-year contract commitment or $599.99 with no contract. While non-contract pricing for phones usually hovers between the $400-$600 mark, $149.99 seems to be a bit steep for a three year commitment. There may be some other pricing available down the road, but as of now, this is all we know about.
Source: MobileSyrup; Thanks, Steve, for letting us know!
Microsoft just posted some job new job opportunities and one theme has surfaced: they're actively recruiting for what appears to be a new Hardware team, a sub-group in the Mobile Communication Business (MCB). The MCB is tasked with improving Microsoft's
...focus and processes to rapidly commercialize the new Windows Phone (WP) OS, software and services with our OEM and Mobile Operator partners. One component of this evolution is the Hardware group which is responsible for helping drive rapid commercialization of WP by active management of relationships and technical direction with key hardware partners.
No, it's not Microsoft building a self-branded Windows Phone, but rather a stronger hand in guiding the future evolution of Windows Phone hardware, working in conjunction with OEM partners for rapid deployment. A few of the jobs for this Hardware group include:
Such high level positions sounds to us like this is a new undertaking for Microsoft (or a lot of key personal went missing recently). In addition, the director will:
... lead a team of hardware developers that design, develop, and test multi-protocol wireless implementations for mobile applications, with an eye toward cost reduction, power consumption and performance improvement, whilst maximizing re-use and minimizing time to market. You will work with business, industrial design, user experience, hardware, and software teams to understand, identify and drive requirements and identify the emerging technologies that will enable new user scenarios.
Call us crazy, but if this whole group is new (or at least being revamped), it sounds to us like Microsoft is going to become more strict and focused on hardware for Windows Phone, to the point of nearly directing key OEM partners on new devices (but we're sure they'd call it "collaborating"). If so, it's an interesting approach of using Microsoft's vast resources and research capabilities to do a lot of hardware engineering, without committing to making the hardware themselves. Thoughts? Sound off in comments.
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.
Here we are again. We'll keep it short and sweet as this is getting redundant. (We hit 7,000 on January 27th)
But right before Mobile World Congress kicks off next week in Barcelona, the Windows Phone Marketplace rampaged past 8,000 this morning. We say rampaged because for two days this week, the Marketplace came to a stand still (fixin's behind the scenes?) before a torrent of apps were then published. And if you just scroll through the last few pages, you'll see we've been getting quite the offerings...
Combined with the Nokia news and Windows Phone seems to be having a great day so far...
Broiled Earth, influenced by the classic Scorched Earth, is an oldschool artillery game by Nullygon Technology Studio where you have two tanks on opposing sides--you then fire various projectile weapons, using angles, wind speed and power to hit your enemy. The game just launched in the Marketplace for $2.99 and is loads of fun for those who love these turn-based projectile games.
But what makes Broiled Earth really cool is the online, multiplayer bit--you can play up to four friends (and strangers) online over 3G or WiFi. The game uses a server system to host games, which you can either create or join. While we didn't get to try that aspect yet (the game just came out and it is 4am EST, ahem), the single player against the AI was just as sweet. (BTW, why are there no Xbox LIVE games doing this yet? Go indie developers!)
Could we be on the verge of another AlphaJax/SpellIt craze? We sure hope so as these types of games are a ton of fun. Bringing online multiplayer support to such classic turn-based gaming is something you just can't wrong with these days. Broiled Earth has a free trial (but no online support--guess that's where the $2.99 goes to) and our early impression is: don't miss out. (Are we overreacting or is this not totally awesome?)
Offering access to seemingly all of its online video content, you can browse, search, favorite and email an endless supply of video content all form your phone--especially that messed up avocado commercial from JibJiab. W-T-...
We just gave it a spin: they done well and it's worth checking out. Videos (over WiFi) looks great and we really like their video-player interface plus ability to share content with others (really a must on mobile phones, amiright?). Link is here for the Marketplace.
As previewed back at CES in early January (along with Flickr and Bank of America), the official Amazon.com app is now out for Windows Phone 7. The app will allow users to browse the popular shopping site without having to use the web, enabling ease of access to 1-click ordering, Wish Lists, package tracking, reviews and related items. Combined with the Kindle app, Amazon looks to have embraced Windows Phone, giving customers plenty to do on their devices.
Hopefully you've seen the Surfcube 2.0 preview vid from few days ago. If so, you're probably as excited as we are that the 3D spinny browser has hit the Marketplace. (Remember to do the force-update trick to grab the new version). Featuring tabs (yusss!) and a new navigation mechasims (the joystick), the new version is quite worth the wait (and price).
So far, it's pretty darn cool. The joystick takes a bit to get used to but once you get the physics, it's quite fun to use--which is something we usually don't say about browsers. Go get yours in the Marketplace here.
Balloon Gunner is an interesting game for your Windows Phone. The Windows Phone 7 game is a 3D shooter that has you piloting an air balloon, conquering the skies over an island chain.
At your disposal, you have an assortment of weapons including a machine gun, rockets and bombs. You pilot your balloon with the Windows Phone's g-sensor and fire your weapons by tapping the screen. Sounds simple enough, right?
Follow the break to read more on Balloon Gunner and catch a video of the game in action.
Looking for a cool game for your Windows Phone? Something with a little twist? If so, check out the Windows Phone 7 game Shift2.
Shift2 is part platform game and part puzzle game. Your goal is to work your player from one side of the screen to a door that appears at various locations throughout the games levels. All in an effort to escape the experimental lab you're trapped inside.
The puzzle challenge comes into play because the route to the door is never direct. You have a shift button that will flip the screen, moving the floor to the roof. It turns towering obstacles into dangerous pits.
Follow the break to read more on Shift2 and to see a video of the game in action.
Love is spreading throughout Microsoft with a section of the Windows Phone website now dedicated to the upcoming Valentine's Day, featuring the top picks of apps for finding that one true love, seducing the colleague you have a crush on at work, or simply making a restaurant reservation for your partner.
Valentine's Day can be difficult to consider, especially in a relationship. I, myself, can confirm the daunting fear in experiencing the inability to conceive the perfect plan ensuring the partner feels special on the day of love (arguably an excuse for media and businesses to earn more revenue). Why not turn to your WP7 device (Man's best friend) to aid you in Man's most troubled yearly event?
Some of the featured apps on the Windows Phone 7 website include Match.com, Love Quotes, Seymour and OpenTable. Have any of the apps on the Marketplace aided you with Valentine's Day?
For those of us who may travel outside of the United States, taking the Samsung Focus with us to use on Europe's vast GSM network seems like a no-brainer. Of course, lets assume we're going for an extended time and/or just don't want to use AT&T's high-priced voice/data roaming--what do you do? You carrier unlock of course, enabling the use of non-AT&T SIM cards on the phone and you're in pre-paid GSM heaven.
Not so fast there buddy, says AT&T.
Evidently, AT&T has an exclusive deal on the Focus till, we hear, at least May 2011. What that means is if you call them, regardless of your sob story, they will not give you a SIM unlock code for your Samsung Focus. Many have tried and as far as we can tell, none have succeeded.
What about the other route? Paying a third party for the database access, like cellunlocker.net who are charging a modest $4.99 for the code. Nope, won't work either. In fact calling Samsung directly is even resulting in the run-around (though at least a few have succeeded). Unlocker sites will return with "not found in database" (true) and Samsung will point you back at AT&T. Pretty lame.
The only solution we heard about (and we confirm works) is FastGSM.com, who provide a software tool to do it. This process will set you back though about $20, which is hardly ideal but at least works. If you go this route, make sure you follow the video and not the software-tool's instructions. To verify your unlock status, follow these directions. To get an idea of what to expect, you can see the video after the break...
Anyone have other solutions that worked or advice? Share in comments.
The title says it all, folks. According to a video posted by YouTube user kendimcefg, a HTC HD2, hacked to run WP7, runs many basic functions faster than a HD7 which natively runs it. We knew that the HD2 was a versatile device, but this is pretty amazing, if accurate. If seeing is believing, then color us impressed. Check out the video for yourself, but try not to rock too hard to the soundtrack.
For those of you who know about Machinima.com, you'll be pleased to know they just published an official app for Windows Phone. Machinima is basically a top-rated gamer site, that features news, reviews and general entertainment, including some humor--all nicely laid out and professionally done. The Windows Phone app, likewise, is also extremely well executed. From the app descritiption:
Machinima.com is the premier online network providing entertainment for the gaming culture, showing game trailers, gameplay videos and tips, video game reviews, first looks, and original series created in video games. One of the most viewed YouTube channels in the world!
Watch your favorite Machinima shows
Sort through top videos of the day, week, month, and of all-time.
Watch the most popular videos on the Machinima Network including all your favorite gameplay videos.
Keep up with gaming news, reviews, behind the scenes and Machinima videos
From our quick run, the app has beautiful graphics, the videos play well and the layout is nice. Scrolling though is a bit laggy what with all of those graphics. But we always see this with v1.0 apps--build the foundation, optimize later, so we can't be too harsh, especially since for Machinima fans, this app is pretty golden. Grab the free app right here in the Marketplace.
UK site ElectricPig got their hands on a GSM HTC 7 Pro, which just hit the market there. Putting it through its paces, EP concluded that the 7 Pro is "absolutely" the best Windows Phone 7 device out there, if you "prioritize email over anything else".
The review highlighted the outstanding keyboard, both in terms of flat out typing and its excellent hinge mechanism, an improvement of the "laggy" Touch Pro 2 of past. Battery life also was very good, allowing them to run it all day with WiFi, 3G and ample usage--which is great news for the device which sports 1500mah of juice. Likewise, the camera was also received well with low noise demonstrated in photos taken (though video was not as smooth).
Some downfalls are the obvious: the LCD screen pales in comparison to AMOLED and is "unremarkable, if not its weakest aspect"--a common theme with HTC's latest LCD choices (contra CNet's findings). The other obvious criticism is size: coming in at 185g and 15.5mm thick, the device is quite chunky for the pocket, but we think it's a valued trade off with that great keyboard. Having said that, build quality was deemed "seriously sturdy, and the metal and plastic edges shrug off fingerprints".
Overall, EP seemed quite pleased with the phone, giving it rather high praises. What weakness were present (including rough landscape support in the OS) are sort of run of the mill for HTC these days. One area they need to obviously invest is in screen quality--if not AMOLED than something more impressive than their current supplier is offering. Regardless, we still can't wait till Sprint gets this bad boy, as EP notes, the 7 Pro is "the most productive Windows Phone 7 model yet". We like the sound of that.