The competition between Microsoft and Google has been raging for a number of years now. The Windows Phone and Android mobile platforms are only a small part, online services are where the real competition is raging. One of the services where Google has a clear lead is Google Voice.
If you haven’t signed up for the service, Google Voice has a number of helpful features. The basic idea is that you sign up for an account, choose a phone number, and then direct your phone traffic to this Google Voice Number. From there you can have the calls automatically forward to one or several other phone numbers. Google Voice also handles voice mail, emailing or texting you notifications, even transcribing messages so that you can get an idea of the content of a message without ever dialing your phone.
Since Google Voice is a core service of a Microsoft competitor, we will most likely never see native integration into Windows Phone, but there are already a number of third party applications that allow you to use the service on your Windows Phone. To see how they rate, keep reading.
ElektricForest has created an insightful chart (click the image to enlarge) that outlines the more frequently observed features of any mobile for Windows Phone 7. Thinking on switching to the Microsoft platform but are having difficulty with deciding which product would best suit your needs? Take a quick (or in-depth) look at the detail of this chart. Also, you may wish to admire the pretty colours used in presenting the data in an aesthetically pleasing style.
There have been a slight increase in the amount of discussions on our forums that are created about switching to Windows Phone 7, but not knowing which product is the best solution for that particular user. Hopefully this chart can shed some light on any poor soul who simply can't make his (or her) mind up.
I see it as this – why read a financial marketing book, when you have a children’s book about money with huge pictures right next-door on the shelf?
Mashable love their polls, and any reader would agree that they are fairly useful with majority of votes coming from tech enthusiasts (the majority being Apple owners over at the social media giant). Publishing the results for their holiday gifts for 2010 poll, it is clear to the eye that Windows Phone 7 has actually performed relatively well.
Having only been officially around for a few months, receiving a mixed reception, and majority of news surrounding the platform outlining negativity over positive announcements, many predicted that the platform may not perform too well over the festive period. Reaching 5,000 apps in the Marketplace, shipping a good 1.5 million products, and listening to the end-user’s feedback, Microsoft have continued to display their determination to create a solid dent in the already-established competition.
Taking a quick look at the pie chart, it’s easily noticeable that Android has continued to dominate over all other platforms, with the iPhone maintaining a healthy share. This is all to the book and is expected by, well, everyone. What’s interesting however, is where Microsoft’s new product is sitting comfortably. Taking a promising 10.3% of votes in the smart phone category is a fantastic achievement, and shows that the insane amount of investment made by Microsoft, the decision with starting from scratch and bringing a new OS to the monopoly board is beginning to show signs of positive results.
Although the chart does shed some light on the current state of the war between the operating systems, it should be noted that this is a Mashable poll, and should not be used as an accurate calculation. As for Windows Phone 7, the 2010 launch has been nothing more than a blur for most. Next year, however, should prove to be either a fast paced sprint with the proposed updates, marketing and what not, or a slow walk ensuring satisfaction is maintained at a reasonably high level.
A day later after we posted the "proof of concept" (PoC) video demonstrating how easy it is to defeat Windows Phone app protection, the discussion is starting to head into another direction: from criticism to potential solution. FreeMarketplace may only be 65.5kb in size (seriously), but its ability to freely circumvent the weak DRM of all 4k+ paid apps in the Marketplace with a single mouse-click is a real concern.
While we're confident Microsoft has something in the works to right this problem (though nothing is confirmed), developers may be able to take some matters into their own hand to better improve app security.
Tobias, the developer of FreeMarketplace, has what he thinks is a method to slow down potential pirates. What makes FreeMarketplace so dangerous is the automation--no mid-level "cracker" is needed to go into each and every app to defeat DRM, which is how the majority of app piracy has to proceed (see iOS). That's because DRM in the Windows Phone Marketplace is the same for every app, making an automated system-wide app cracker feasible:
The code and the guides I gave you here will not stop piracy. Anyone with the corresponding skills can still startup reflector, go through your code, remove any checkes, remove DRM and install it on a device. YES, but it got a lot more difficult to do it in an automated fashion. So, there might be one or two who can still break your security measures by hand but the masses won’t be able as there is no generic tool available.
While not a true fix, it can at least add some speed bumps for now till MS can offer more robust DRM support. Of note, Tobias is still not sharing details on how FreeMarketplace works, so don't expect any nuggets there. In addition, what follows is strictly for developers, so non-techies will only glean a few interesting tid-bits.
One of the more unique Windows Phone 7 applications has to be Death Timerz by Licantrop0. The application will tell you how old you are down to the seconds as well as calculate when you are expected to pass.
While the application sounds a little creepy (okay maybe a lot creepy) it predicts your lifespan based on a multi-question survey.
Ease on past the break to see how longer I have and what this unique application has to offer.
CrewBeat is offering Car Locator over at the Windows Phone Marketplace that should prevent you from misplacing your car again. The Windows Phone 7 application marks your car's location using the on-board aGPS and uses that information to guide you back to where you left it.
Car Locator can come in handy at large shopping malls, sporting events, airports and other venues where masses of cars congregate. The application offers a radar view, map view and allows you to photograph your cars location (to help jog your memory).
To read more about our impressions on Car Locator, ease on past the break.
Sony is the latest company to file patent complaints and litigation accusing LG Electronics of patent infringement. Sony has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission claiming LG's phones and modems violate several proprietary technologies including photo-based caller ID.
And, as what's become a traditional companion to filing an ITC complaint, Sony has also filed a lawsuit against LG in U.S. District Court with similar claims. The only thing missing is a counter suit by LG against Sony. But it's early and there's not telling what will be filed tomorrow.
In it's complaint to the ITC Sony has requested that LG Electronics be barred from importing products with the contested technologies. This would include the LG Quantum. It is doubtful, with this form of litigation taking forever to be resolved, that Quantum supplies will dry up any time soon.
Source: BloombergThanks goes out to Mike for the tip!
No official numbers exist for what WP7 device sells the best in France, but website Monsmartphone.net has done a bit of calculation based on their visitors' preferences. (Our French is a bit rusty, but according to Google Translate, evidently users can customize their homepage to the site--cool idea).
Taking a sample of 1,268 users, which is statistically large, the choices of which smartphone has the most users becomes quite evident. Let's see what they have:
Samsung Omnia 7 = 40% of users
HTC (Mozart, HD7, Trophy combined) = 44%
LG Optimus 7 = 16%
Of course, what is interesting is how one Samsung phone (Omnia 7) can nearly match three from HTC in user share at the site. Heck, even the LG holds it own against the HD7 (16% vs 13%).
Flash forward 10 days later and looks like the folks at XDA figured it out, so we figured we'd do an update. We also have a new one that boosts the volume when using a headphones (the Focus turns the overall volume down for obvious reasons).
The process is similar: using the Samsung Diagnosis app, enter in some values. Done. For this, we can definitely confirm the headphones are much louder...probably too loud, but you can decide. And both stick after a reboot. Post results in comments or our Focus sub-forum!
GoVoice, the popular Google Voice client with push notifications has been submitted for Marketplace approval. Being a 0.1 upgrade, we can expect some minor improvements and bug fixes. Developer Nicholai Yu provides some details of what to expect:
New live tile design to make the count more visible (see above)
Fixed the bug where settings cannot be saved
Miscellaneous bug fixes
Sounds good to us. We've been successfully using the push feature exclusively on our Focus now, giving up on traditional SMS (AT&T's 200 is a little meager). Hopefully the update will come in the next few days. Stay tuned.
On a related note, GoVoice's biggest competitor, GVoice, is stuck in what can only be described as "Microsoft approval hell", a fate we wish upon no developer. Seriously, read that post and know the situation still has not changed for Koush in 22 days. Come on MS, help a brotha out.
For those who like to share pics with their Windows Phone, you have your MMS, Facebook, SkyDrive and...well, email we suppose. But most of those involve direct sharing of the photo as oppose to giving a link out which would allow you to share the single photo multiple times over different protocols at varying times.
Imgur (pronounced image-er) is a popular and free photo sharing site, used heavily with Reddit users (see Alien News for WP7) and is known for its sharp, minimalist design and anonymity (it strips photo meta-data off automatically). Developer John Sprunger has made a free app, appropriately called Imgur Photo Uploader which not only allows you to upload any pic on your phone, but share the photo link with numerous sites including: Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, DIGG, email, and SMS. Imgur links are short and concise e.g. http://imgur.com/WsCdz.jpg making them ideal for sharing. Plus it saves your uploads for later use, right on the device.
Hey, for free, it can't be beat and works very well. Plus, as you could tell, we dig imgur a lot (it was created by one guy) and highly recommend both. Grab Imgur Photo Uploaderhere.
Although it should come of little surprise to those who have tried all the WP7 devices out there, the Samsung Focus (see review) has caught the attention of Wired Magazine's Gadget Lab, coming in at #4 on their "Most Significant Gadgets of 2010", beating the popular HTC EVO.
Considering how new the device is to market when compared to others, it's a nice tip of the hat to what truly is an amazing phone. Wired notes the following about the Focus:
Based on a fresh tile-based interface, Windows Phone 7 is an impressive start. It shines brightly on the lightweight Samsung Focus smartphone, which has a beautiful AMOLED screen and a solid overall construction.
Microsoft is pinning its mobile hopes on Windows Phone 7. If the Focus is any indication, it's got a good shot at getting back in the game.
We agree. Our hopes for 2011? Samsung brings some of their magic to Verizon and Sprint. Related: Microsoft's Kinect made the #3 spot and #1 belongs to...eck.
We ran across a comment on our review of the Jabra Cruiser 2 Bluetooth Speakerphone that sparked our curiosity. WPCentral member Score wrote,
"Cool product, but not really needed with WP7, if you have an aux outlet in your car. When the WP7 is hooked up to the aux outlet the phone uses your car stereo as a speaker phone."
More cars are being fitted with an auxilliary 3.5mm jack for MP3 players and it makes sense that the same jack could be used with the 3.5mm headphone jack on your Windows Phone. All you need is a male to male cable and a car cradle for your Windows Phone is a good idea as well (helps keep your phone from bouncing around).
In testing this set-up out with the Samsung Focus, call volume came in a little on the weak side (easily adjusted by cranking up the stereo volume) but surprisingly the microphone picked up my voice really well with the phone cradled about three feet away. At highway speeds the microphone struggles a little to overcome the car noises but still call quality wasn't too shabby. If you like driving around with the windows down, I don't see this as a viable option.
This set-up requires a few more buttons to push for answering calls and you don't have the noise filtering advantages the current crop of Bluetooth devices have. Still, if you have an AUX jack in your car, this is an inexpensive hands-free solution that works fairly decent.
Ever wonder how you'd fair in betting on sporting events? MyBookie from Psydian Interactive will let you see how well of a prognosticator you can be without loosing your shirt.
MyBookie is a fantasy game that lets you bet imaginary cash on real sporting events. The sporting events, odds, and outcome are real while the cash isn't. Bets can be placed on the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL as well as college football and basketball. You can bet the spread, over/under or the money line. As an added bonus, MyBookie is integrated with Facebook. You can brag about your bets on your Facebook wall as well as access your MyBookie account through Facebook.
MyBookie is an interesting game and to see if it's a winner, ease on past the break.
One thing that you can say unequivocally about Microsoft, they have a solid foothold in the IT world; and there isn’t a close second. Between the server offerings and the Windows 7 OS, nobody can stand toe-to-toe with Microsoft in the enterprise. One thing that I (as an IT Professional) love about working with Microsoft products is the wealth of documentation and resources housed within Microsoft’s Technet community.
Microsoft’s Springboard Series is a collection of documentation focused on educating IT Professionals on the tools and processes used to deploy and manage Windows 7 desktops. With the launch of the Springboard Series App for Windows Phone 7, Microsoft is providing mobile access to the articles and videos on the Springboard site.
If you’re an IT Pro, or you just like playing around with your Windows 7 computer; go get the Springboard Series app from the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace (Zune link).