Justin Williams, owner and developer at Second Gear LLC, is an experienced OS X and iOS developer who has ventured over to Android for a week to see how he rated day-to-day usage in comparison to the iPhone. Justin has now had a good look at Windows Phone 7, and has made his opinions known to the world.
Although reviewing the software, the Samsung Focus was also a main point when creating the opinionated review and wasn’t positive when covering the hardware.
“The rest of the hardware? It’s pretty cheap. Apple hit a home run in the ‘feel’ aspect of the iPhone 4. When you hold it in your hand, it feels hefty (but not too hefty), solid and substantial. The Focus, on the other hand, feels light, cheap and full of air.”
Yes, like you our WeatherBug Live Tile had stopped updating quite a few days ago. And yes, probably like you we went with the Weather Channel's app as an alternative (see review).
It turns out WeatherBug is well aware of the problem and it has to do with a bug related to interval times and updates. They seem to be on top of the issue, trying to resolve it with Microsoft. But until an update for the app comes out, they evidently recommend you set the update interval to 60 minutes.
Now, we had that as our update time on our HD7 earlier today and it still wasn't updating, so your milage may vary. Let us know if it worked for you or like us, you simply went to the Weather Channel.
According to Thurrott's WinSuperSite, Windows Phone 7 may be sending large chunks of 3G data behind our backs, data that is not easily explained by any apps and regardless of WiFi availability. This is actually the first we've heard of this issue, but Thurrott claims this is "widely reported" so we're not sure what to make of it.
According to one reader who wrote into WinSuperSite:
I went and looked at my AT&T account online and noticed that my phone was sending huge chunks of data seemingly in patterns. For instance on November 21-24 it sent between 30 and 50 MB of data at 10:41pm each day and Dec 1-4 it sent between 30 and 50 MB of data at 9:41am each day. On December 23rd I turned on airplane mode so my phone could no longer send data. I turned airplane mode off briefly on December 23rd and the phone sent 400 MB of data.
Curious. Personaly speaking, I have a lot of 3rd party apps installed--66 to be exact--and when I just checked my AT&T data usage, I'm below 700MB with 5 days left on my bill-cycle. Translation: I'm certainly not having this problem. Granted, I don't use Facebook nor have my pictures backed up to SkyDrive, so those two may be the culprit. [Update: And yes, I have my "send feedback" enabled for Microsoft, so that's not it either]
But enough jibber-jabbing, any of you experiencing this supposed wide-spread issue or is this just a fluke? Sound off in comments.
For those who like Google's news feed, you may want to check out the new freeware app GooNews by Shawn Wildermuth (a well known .NET developer and author, also worth following on Twitter). Released today, the app brings Google's news feeds right to your device quickly with a smooth, clean UI.
Besides bringing in Google's default feeds, the app has two excellent features:
Ability to add custom feeds based on keywords
InstaPaper account integration for offline or later viewing
In case you're wondering why he went with Google and not Bing news, he has an interesting explanation: "As an aside, I tried to use Bing News but its license was too limiting and custom feeds were too difficult. So I fell back into Google News and it worked great."
We've been running the app for the last few hours and really enjoy its speed and ease of use. It still requires the usage of Mobile Internet Explorer to view articles (nothing much can be done about that) but as a front-end, we really like the design and spryness. Grab the app here in the Marketplace for free.
A simple app that allows you to view Oyster balance, live departure boards, a map for each line, and add/manage favourite (most frequently used) stations, that costs 79p? I’m in!
For any poor sod who has to deal with the constant stress of the London Underground, an app that displays status reports on their phone is one valuable asset. London Tube does just that, featuring a summary of all lines that makes the decision on which train to use that much easier, saving both time and money.
Oyster Card balance
Offline maps available per line
Fast loading and synchronising
Uses Metro UI perfectly
Doesn't show wheelchair access icons on maps
No journey planning
Update: False alarm. It appears Samsung didn't disable it, they just changed the code.: *#0002*28345# Now instead of a '6' a the end, use '5'. Thanks, malteahrens, for the info
Looks like Samsung does not want you messing with your audio settings as they have disabled access in their latest Diagnosis app for our phones.
Late last night, the Marketplace pushed an update for Samsung's Diagnostics app bumping it to version 1122 (see above pic). While not mandatory, we took this risk to see what would happen and while most menu items are still accessible, we can confirm that the audio settings used to boost sound (covered here) are now disabled. Typing in the code results in nothing, no error, no message, just nothing.
On top of that, there seems to be no benefit to the update so if you have yet to install it, we suggest you don't.
Although porting HTC apps (like YouTube and their Weather Hub) to non-HTC devices is not going too smoothly as HTC has many "checks" in the way, the reverse seems doable.
XDA developer xboxmod has successfully ripped numerous Samsung-only apps and distributed the XAP files for others to install. All that is needed is an unlocked device (developer or ChevronWP7) and to install a certificate via email. Once loaded, the apps mostly seem to work fine although we had some hiccups with the German and movie apps. But, Samsung's NOW hub, which shows weather, news and stocks loads up just fine and pulls data with no issues as you can see above, running on our HD7.
Overall, we like where this is going and hope some LG apps, including their voice-to-text (found on the Quantum) can maybe make their way over to our phones. Then again, we're not sure how those OEMs feels about all of this, though we could imagine...
We have to admit we get a little cynical with these 'analyst' stories only because we often get the feeling that these experts are often behind the curve or they make somewhat obvious, vague predictions about mobile tech.
In this case, IDC, who should be quite familiar to mobile phone users by now, has gone on to state that they think Microsoft has a chance with Windows Phone 7 in 2011, but only if they do what they basically said they're going to do. Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC, wrote in a Dec. 29 publication:
CDMA phones are expected to arrive in early 2011, ensuring that WP7 devices are available on all four U.S. carriers, thus helping increase device shipments...To bring the platform rapidly to a level of parity with other major mobile platforms, Microsoft will need to deliver several key features in the first quarter of 2011.
Seems sort of obvious but okay, lets go on. What are those features? According to eWeek they are "multitasking support, copy-and-paste and increased hardware support for augmented reality applications such as business card scanning". Since we know Microsoft is doing all the requested from Al Hilwa, we guess this is a shoe in, right? CDMA devices will be announced at CES, rollout in February and we can see "several" OS updates in 2011, many bringing the required-for-success features Hilwa expects.
Finally, Hilwa concludes with
IDC believes that it will have a seat at the small table of the top two or three mobile application platform players in the next five years.
Seems to be a safe prediction. We don't see such claims for WebOS, Bada or MeeGo, do we? Although perhaps we could say RIM is knocked out of that top-three club, but even that is becoming more and more obvious with every labored BlackBerry release these days.
This one will cause a lot of envy amongst those with non-developer/ChevronWP7 unlocked phones. Developer CodeJoker has gone ahead and done the obvious: create a shortcut to the device WiFi settings. It's exactly what you think it would be--you tap the icon and you're at your configuration to turn WiFi on or off with a few less steps than the current setup. You simple install the XAP file and you're good to go, not really much to it and it works as advertised as you can see above.
Could this be technically submitted to the Marketplace and approved? We don't really see why not, it's not so much a hack and just creating a shortcut. But until then, you'll have to go the unlocked route. We're also pretty sure Microsoft has to be working on something similar from their end, hopefully some type of tile --> folder --> icons system, making such ritual changes much more easy.
On the fence about buying an LG Quantum or Samsung Focus and just can't justify spending $199 on the new Windows Phone? We've learned of some good news from AT&T in that they have dropped the price for both these phones down to $99. Enough to knock you off that fence?
Not sure when it happened but AT&T dropped the contractually discounted price and out-of-contract price (now $399) one hundred bucks. The phones do require a minimum data package of $15 a month and new activation (not sure if upgrades qualify). If you order online, AT&T will throw in free shipping to boot.
Not a shabby deal if you're in the market for a new Windows Phone. You can find all the details over at AT&T Wireless.
You can find a lot of uses for your Windows Phone. From email to web browsing to turning the phone into a flashlight, the possibilities are numerous. The Windows Phone 7 application DecisionMaster lets you use your Windows Phone to get through the hard choices in life.
DecisionMaster, developed by Tim Plourde, uses a multi-step process to help make a complex decisions that involve multiple options and criteria. Need some help deciding on what your next car will be? Should you take that trip to Disney World or take a sea cruise?
For more on this Windows Phone 7 application, ease on past the break.
One of the nice features of Windows Phone 7 is the use of Live Tiles. They allow you to monitor key information from applications such as new messages, appointments, and weather updates. Now you can track stock information with the Windows Phone application StockAlert Live.
Developed by Kabzara Software, allows you to track stock market activity at a glance with the Live Tile or you can open the full application for more detailed information on market activity and the stocks your interested in.
For more on StockALert Live and to see if the $.99 application is a worthy investment, follow the break.
The good old days of NES, gaming at its prime – retro style. Throughout the technological advancement, emulators have always been developed to allow older generation games to be played on newer hardware and software. An emulator has been developed (open source) by Matt Bettcher for the Windows Phone 7 platform, but Microsoft has advised him through contact that he will not be allowed to offer his app on the Marketplace. Apple have even allowed emulation to set sail on the App Store, so why is Microsoft blocking it?
There are - of course - legal complications surrounding ROMs and emulators alike, but that may not be the full reason as to why the huge corporation has set up a retro-gaming blockade. The WP7 has one feature that other platforms do not have to offer, Xbox Live. Having emulation (offered on the Marketplace for free) available on your mobile could possibly cause a negative impact on sales of Xbox Live titles and other games from developers.
Support from the mobile community has been called for and if you truly wish to see a NES emulator hit the Marketplace, you can head on over to the vidoe showcasing the emulator and get in touch. He has also set up a CodePlex project up for the emulator, which can be found here.
One big issue many people have with Windows Phone 7 is the inability to take screen-shots of their device to share with others, something we're all too familiar with here at WPCentral.
Of course, it's not impossible for WP7 to do this, it's just like most things, there is no access to the API/driver for developers as it is being held under wrap and key (much like socket support, live camera access for scanners, etc.).
Rafael Rivera, one for the co-developers of ChevronWP7, has evidently discovered a screen capture utility on the Samsung Focus, enabling that feature. No word on plans for release to the homebrew community, though we wouldn't doubt it with his track record. Oh and that's just it, while this will work for developer or ChevronWP7 unlocked devices, there's little chance this will be in the Marketplace for the rest of you. Nor is it unclear if this would work on non-Samsung phines. But hey, it's a start until Microsoft gives us a real solution.