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3 years ago

Screen Technology Showdown: HD7s vs HD7 vs Focus

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If you've read our AT&T HTC HD7s review, we gave the phone fairly high rankings despite the let-down of Super LCD--the one key difference between it and it's brother, the HD7, on T-Mobile.

Since that review, we've managed to get a side by side between those two devices to get a better idea what, if any, the difference in screen quality there are present. In short, while the Super LCD on the AT&T HD7s is a little punchier and bolder, it's only slightly better than the HD7 and is still dwarfed by the Samsung Focus Super AMOLED, which is brighter, punchier and works better in sunlight.

Still, the HD7s looks good "in charcoal" as opposed to the chromed-out version on T-Mobile and they seemed to have fixed the loose volume rocker, which was present (and annoying) on the T-Mobile version.

The biggest disappointment though with the the HD7s/Super LCD is the "screen ghosting" (seen after the break) which we though would be fixed with the newer screen technology (the HD7 suffers from the same distortion). In conclusion, if you like the HD7 you'll like the HD7s as it slightly improves things. But if you were not sold on the HD7 before, then the HD7s willl not convince you to change up. And we really doubt and Focus owners will drop the Super AMOLED for Super LCD. And just think, this fall, Windows Phone users stand a good chance of getting a taste of Samsung's Super AMOLED Plus tech (see PhoneArena), leaving Super LCD even further behind.

Hit the break for some more "versus" photos and see for yourself. *Note: Brightness on every device here was set to 'High'.

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3 years ago

Samsung to overtake Nokia as top smartphone maker

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Nokia has been the largest producer of smartphones in the world since 1996.  However, a recent Reuters article says that is going to change very soon, as Samsung is poised to supplant the Finnish powerhouse by the end of the quarter.  And if that news wasn't alarming enough for Nokia, projections by Nomura analysts point to Apple becoming #2 on the list as soon as Quarter 4, and HTC landing in a virtual tie at third sometime in 2012. 

This signals what analysts say is a shift to Asian manufacturers gaining more and more ground.  Nokia will remain the largest overall cellphone maker through all of this, but it is clear that smartphones is where the industry is heading, with the exception of emerging countries.  If they continue to decline in the smartphone market, they may not be long for this world.

It is no secret that Nokia is putting all its eggs in the WP7 basket, which it hopes will arrive in Quarter 4.  The company has been steadily losing marketshare, but has really been fighting to tread water since partnering with Microsoft, seeing it's stock prices dwindle amongst other things.

Source: Reuters; Via: TechWatch

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3 years ago

Strategy: Windows Phone is Microsoft's only solution to portable gaming

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Depending on your view of things, this will either be great news or bad news--but evidently Microsoft is 100% committed in driving Windows Phone as their gaming platform, meaning we won't be seeing a "portable Xbox" system anytime soon.

According to Dennis Durkin, Microsoft’s chief operating and financial officer of the company’s Interactive Entertainment Business, who spoke with Pocket-lint recently at E3, Microsoft just does not see stand-alone portable consoles as a viable option these days:

"In a term of a dedicated handheld there are questions of the viability of that business model..."

"People have been asking for a long time about handhelds. It’s a really interesting time in that market. Look at the Nintendo 3DS, it’s been a slower start than analysts and others had expected, but it’s a super-competitive space. Any dedicated portable device like a camera, or a portable gaming device like the 3DS has a tough time."

Going further, Marc Whitten, corporate vice president of Xbox LIVE noted that at least on Windows Phone:

“Today on Windows Phone, Xbox Live games make up less than 1 per cent of the number of games that are on there. They are over 30 per cent of the units of the games downloaded on the phone, and they over 70 per cent of the revenue. That’s because consumers value the experience and integration of the game with Xbox Live.”

We certainly see why revenue is higher, as they charge more, a lot more in fact, than 3rd party developers. Evidently though, people are buying them, despite some issue in pricing and those broken achievements in a handful of games.

For us Windows Phone users, in our opinion this is good news as it means Microsoft will concentrate only on our platform for game development and not create an even more fragmented system (PC, Xbox, Phone and then portable console). Surely we are years from making current 360 games truly portable, so any handheld system would have to be an in-betweener Phone vs. Xbox 360. Plus, as pointed out earlier, it's all about in convergence is key here: people want one device aka "the phone" to do their games, bills, email, music, etc.

Speaking of convergence, WinRumors spoke with Microsoft about that whole Xbox 360/Kinect/Windows Phone tie in we saw months ago at Mobile World Congress: ETA is sometime "next year" as they're currently developing and testing a few games. All we know is this feature can't come fast enough.

Source: Pocket-lint; via WinRumors

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3 years ago

Mango vs iOS5 with features

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Mango vs iOS5 with features

In the aftermath of the "iOS5 has copied features from other platforms while they sue manufacturers for copying them" drama going around since this year's WWDC one has to look at the features in both iOS5 and upcoming Mango. 

For everyone who's in the loop with WP7 and how the OS is very young in comparison to Android and iOS, it seems rather odd that one of the older standing and more established platforms would copy WP7 after it has been continuously struck down for lacking too many features. My personal favorite is copy & paste. According to a select minority, we still don't have copy & paste. It's as if NoDo never came around (unfortunately for some this is still the case).

Windows Phone 7 Center have compiled a table comparing features between the iPhone, iPad and WP7 and it's interesting to note what WP7 has built in. To me this proves how iOS is simply a stand for apps, whereas WP7 is more integrated and offers a more complete solution without the use of apps for basic features. What I do find odd about iOS5 is the Twitter integration, where's Facebook? Surely if you're going to implement social media into your OS you'd also use the largest social networking website?

Check out the table after the break. 

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3 years ago

Yearly major release cycle for WP7 confirmed by new job post

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Seems Microsoft is planning to keep to their promise on hitting the nail with major releases for Windows Phone 7, which will be occurring on a yearly cycle. In the job vacancy post below we can clearly see the position being heavily involved with updates between a yearly schedule. 

What do you think about this and how well do you believe Mango will be deployed?

See the job post after the break. 

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3 years ago

Broken Xbox Live Achievements on Windows Phone

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For many gamers, Xbox Live Achievements are the Windows Phone platform’s main selling point. They provide primary and secondary goals to strive for in games. They also make it easy for other people to see what you’ve accomplished. Earning Achievements contributes to GamerScore – an overall score that quantifies a person’s accomplishments across Xbox 360, Windows Phone, and Games for Windows Live games. It’s a brilliant and addictive system.

Except when something goes wrong. Despite the apparently rigorous testing that games undergo during the Xbox Live certification process, sometimes a game is released with one or more with unobtainable Achievements. We call an Achievement broken or glitched when it is impossible for gamers to unlock through any means.

Why are glitched Achievements a big deal? As I said, people get addicted to earning Achievements. Obsessive compulsive types eat them up. People who really buy into the Achievement system sort of calculate the full 200 GamerScore into a game’s purchase price. They feel ripped off if they can’t get the full 200 no matter what they do. Even for less compulsive gamers, it can be frustrating to go through the effort to satisfy an Achievement’s unlock conditions and find that it didn’t unlock.

Head past the jump for the full list of broken Xbox Live Achievements and what’s being done to fix them.

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3 years ago

Doodle Jump - Review

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Doodle Jump - Review

Slowly but surely, all of the major iPhone gaming hits are finding their way to Windows Phone. It’s important that Microsoft’s young platform has the games that people like and want to play. The latest game to make the jump to Xbox Live is Doodle Jump, originally developed by Lima Sky. The Windows Phone version was ported by Mr. Goodliving (who were shut down by owner RealNetworks prior to the game’s actual release) and Game-Lion Studios. Doodle Jump has been a huge success on other platforms due to its unique, appealing art style, precise accelerometer-based controls, and easy-to-learn, hard-to-master game play.

Is Doodle Jump just as much of a standout on Windows Phone? Step, no, jump past the break to find out.

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3 years ago

Best of Smartphone Experts, 12 June 2011

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Summary of the Week: June 07-12, 2011

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Another fairly quiet week on the Windows Phone 7 front while the hype for Mango increases, but the WPCentral app is back in black with version 1.2, which is now available in the Marketplace. The Windows Mobile 6.5 web accessible Marketplace is going offline as well as the MyPhone. Fancy a WP7 device?

Microsoft has released more updates on the updates, which should have updated the devices that required updating back in the update designated month of "update February". Focus users are told to remain vigilant while Microsoft battle hard to get things sorted. Switching to future mode, Mango is to receive new features in SkyDrive and the Zune Pass along with some WP7 dedicated services are planned to be expanded beyond UK and US.

For all you trigger happy gamers, Glyder is this week's Xbox Live Deal and geoDefense is readily available on the Marketplace. Worship WP7 so much that you'd do anything to see your Xbox avatar have one as a prop? Now you can for free!

Unfortunately, something that wont be able to be exploited for free is using SkyDrive for music streaming, although the Zune service should be sufficient enough for all your music needs. Bing Audio (which will be replacing the likes of Shazam) is reported to dynamically analyse music for more responsive matching.

Microsoft has brought a new bargain to the table with selling select WP7 devices for just a penny (on contract of course) while U.S. Cellular jump onto the steam train for their HTC device roll-out later this year. The HTC HD7s on AT&T is backordered already, could this be due to low stock or the fact that the device is highly desired? Staying on the HD7s, you can pick one up for $50 at Best Buy.

With Apple in the news through copying Microsoft, Google, RIM etc. with features added into iOS5 (while they actively sue anyone for calling the round green/red shaped fruit an apple), Microsoft is flattered by their competitor implementing features already found in WP7. Matt Hasselbeck, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, has been interviewed (over Twitter, of all means of communication) about his usage of WP7, specifically the Focus and Trophy handsets.

Should you feel as though you need to do more to protect your device, why not check out some awesome homemade Windows Phone bags? To close off our "fun" highlights of this week, Xbox Live Extras for Mango accidently appeared in the Marketplace. It's all laughs and jokes, right?

Developers, or should I say Android developers? Anyway, Microsoft has released a mapping tool which is much like their iOS tool that they previously released. Fancy developing for our platform? Now it's even easier.

Allow Scotty to beam you up past the break for the highlights. 

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3 years ago

Qmadix BoostPac - Review

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Qmadix BoostPac - Review

While Windows Phones have noticeably improved power management to get the most of your battery, every now and again you might need a boost of power. You could use a car charger or carry around an extra wall charger/USB cord but what about the times you don't have a charging source? Enter the Qmadix BoostPac.

This little one inch square cube is a 1000mah Lithium Ion battery that will give your Windows Phone enough power to get you to that electrical outlet or car charger. The battery has a built in shutoff to protect your phone from over-charging and LED indicators to show you how much power is left and when re-charging is complete.

Continued after the break.

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3 years ago

Get Orb for free on Monday

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Get Orb for free on Monday

Palladium Power has a deal for you. On Monday, June 13, 2011 you can download their Windows Phone game Orb for free! No strings attached. The development team over at Palladium Power tells us they are so pleased with the recent update for the game, they want to celebrate by giving everyone a chance to download it for free.

So now you ask, what is Orb. Orb is a fast paced Windows Phone game that has you race a rolling ball across tiles and avoid falling off the course or crashing into obstacles or other dangers. You have fans to help you jump across large gaps and boost fields to speed things up a bit.  In playing Orb just for a brief period, it's well animated, challenging and entertaining game for your Windows Phone.

There is a free trial available if you want to try it before Monday and after the free Monday offer, the game will run you $1.29. You can download the game here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

Thanks goes out to Jonas and Marcus for sharing this with us!

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3 years ago

Xbox Live Extras for Mango accidentally appears in Marketplace

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Goes to show you are easy it is for internal, in-testing apps for Microsoft to go public in the Marketplace. Evidently, the beta version for Xbox Live Extras for Mango was pushed to the Marketplace today for a few hours before it was rec-called.

Labelled as such and at version 1.0, this will be the way you can purchase items for your Avatar on the phone, much like the latest v1.6 update we just received a few days ago. Now, before you become all downtrodden over the fact you missed this before it was pulled, let it be known had you downloaded it would not have run anyways as it is dependent on libraries in the Mango build. Or as Lei Tracer from Microsoft explains the situation:

“FYI, the app “Beta Xbox Live Extras” appeared in Marketplace for a few hours on 6/10. This is a beta that is intended for internal Microsoft Mango testers and should not have appeared in the marketplace, but someone threw the wrong lever somewhere so it ended up visible. If you try to run the app you won’t see anything because it depends on Mango libraries that aren’t available on your phone yet. The app is taken down now and the correct v1.6 of XLE should be visible now. Apologies for the confusion.”

Kind of funny and we're sure there was some finger pointing going at Redmond over the incident. Luckily, there wasn't anything too sensitive there that leaked out--we already know Extras exists and that it will be there in Mango too.

Source: Windows Phone Metro

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3 years ago

KLM Airlines lifts a page from the Metro UI design book

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There's no doubt that Microsoft is doing the right thing by recognizing how brilliant the Metro UI is and incorporating into the next Xbox update and Windows 8 desktop OS. So perhaps it is of little surprise to see others starting to snag some deisgn cues from Microsoft's groundbreaking UI by incorporating Metro-esque themes into their products.

Reader Florian (Disinto) recently flew on KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) and couldn't help but noticing something as simple as salt & pepper packets had an all too familiar look to them. There's no confusion here either--those are exactly like the Metro tiles from Windows Phone. Odd seeing them on such banal items as disposable spice packets and yet...it still looks great, no?

Hey, we can't speak for Microsoft, but we're cool with Metro UI/Tiles taking over design aesthetic. So long as Android and Apple stay away, they've already copied enough.

Thanks to Florian for the sweet pic and observation, not to mention good taste in music.

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3 years ago

Get ready for a throwdown. Square Off is 99 cents this weekend

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We’d like to call your attention to Gnomic Studios’ indie game Square Off today. Not just because of the amazing papercraft shown above that I designed for WPCentral’s Square Off review, though it would seem I am happy to show it off again. No, the big news about Square Off is that’s it on sale this weekend. The sale price is 99 cents, a 66% discount off the regular price.

Square Off is a 2D arena-based shooter. Players take control of a Square Avenger – a human/alien hybrid with a jetpack – as he defends the earth from nefarious one-eyed aliens. The game’s got seven levels to blast through, each of which can be played in a never-ending survival mode.

Square Off’s 2.5D graphics (hand-drawn characters on 3D backgrounds) and tight controls really won us over. The full game is on sale for 99 cents until Monday and there is a free trial, so give it a try now while the getting’s good. You’ll find Square Off here on the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Mobile Nations Podcast: Episode Zero

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Mobile Nations Podcast: Episode Zero

Introducing our cross-platform podcast, the state of the union for Android, BlackBerry, iOS, webOS, and Windows Phone!

Mobile Nations is our brand new podcast, bringing together the heads of state from Android Central, CrackBerry.com, PreCentral.net, TiPb.com and WPCentral for full on round-table action. This week Phil, Kevin, and Rene discuss new Gingerbread phones, iOS 5 and iCloud, Playbook updates, and Apple stealing back. This is Mobile Nations!

Meta Talk

  • Do we go clean or explicit?
  • Do we use theme music or smash cut straight to the talk?
  • Should we stick to a bi-weekly schedule?
  • What should our album art be?

Tech Talk

Feedback

    Hosts

  • Phil Nickinson (@philnickinson)
  • Kevin Michaluk (@crackberrykevin)
  • Rene Ritchie (@reneritchie)
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