Our friends over at Phone Scoop were able to snag a few minutes with Sprint's first Windows Phone 7 device, the HTC 7 Pro. No release information was passed on but the first impression sounded good.
The device is built by HTC, which is even more obvious when you slide open the keyboard and see the screen tilt at an angle from the sliding QWERTY, similar to the way the old HTC Touch Pro 2 tilts.
The only complaints noted by Phone Scoop was that the keyboard was a little stiff and the screen rotation was a little slow. It was noted that this was a pre-production model so I'm sure there are still a few bugs to be ironed out.
They did mention that the 7 Pro felt solidly built and compact enough to fit easily into a comfortable pair of pants. Still no mention of a release date or pricing but with the phone carrying the Sprint logo and design tweaks, we may see this sooner than later.
Regardless, it does sound like Sprint customers will be please with their first Windows Phone 7 device.
Fast-forward today and it is being claimed (not yet demonstrated) that certain aspects of PVK has been breached. But, like before, they're still far from a viable implementation. Pocketnow has summarized this as follows:
Several different methods are being attempted to bypass the limitation, including the search for a so-called "corporate key," which would essentially be a universal PVK for large-scale activations. Unfortunately, because all devices are security-flashed at the factory, such a key may not even exist. Secondly, overseas developers -- beyond the reach of Microsoft legal, apparently -- are said to be hacking the different bits of the device-side authentication piecemeal, but because of the unusually intricate security measures employed by Redmond, "it doesn't really look good" according to our source.
What does this all mean? In reality, that nothing has changed. While porting portions of the WP7 OS to the HD2 is doable, attempting everything is and will remain very difficult. So difficult in fact, it begs the question if this is worth all the effort. At least here in the U.S., with a new Samsung Focus fetching for $99 without 3rd party sales, WP7 hardware seems cheap enough to negate the value of hacking a broken but new OS onto the HD2.
San Francisco based startup AppMakr announced today at CES that it will be bringing its application-building platform to wannabe WP7 developers in the near future. AppMakr, which is currently only available for iOS, "enables anyone to build rich content based apps using a point and click solution," regardless of programming experience or know-how. The company also revealed that they will be launching Android support at the time as the Windows Phone version in February, boasting the "industry’s first 'No Coding Required' mobile application platform for multiple mobile OS."
AppMakr co-founder, Daniel Odio, expressed cautious optimism at the quick success of WP7: “We’re definitely making a little bit of a bet here, but we see it paying off early.” The company also extended the opportunity to beta test to anyone who wishes to sign up at: http://go.AppMakr.com/beta
Here's to bringing geekdom to the people. And probably more fart apps, flashlights and tip calculators. Come on people! Enough already!
Rocket Riot (review coming soon), is probably one of the best Xbox LIVE games on Windows Phone 7 right now: catchy music, great combo of retro and 3D graphics, fun gameplay. Only downside was cost: $6.99 made it one of the most expensive games on the Marketplace, which even I avoided paying.
Luckily in the last few days it dropped to a more reasonable $4.99, making it more worthy of consideration. Only thing we're hesitant about are the few complaints about the game "not loading" after a few days of playing. This seems to be isolated but hopefully the developer will have a v1.1 soon.
Live in the UK? Love cute, cuddly, adorable, puzzle games? Well you are in luck! Developer Southend Interactive has officially released Ilomilo a few days ago, which was locked to the AT&T network alone. Branching off from our review of Ilomilo, this beautiful little fantasy adventure will be ensuring that you forget Narnia, and focus on reuniting with your other half of the coin.
I have waited some time for this as some folk I know have explored the depths of puzzling on their phones, which has led to them to venture on a boasting spree. Installing and opening up the title, I hadn't put it down for a good hour and half making my commute on the train bareable. Below is a video from our review, by Rob, giving a great run through the game.
Head on over to the Marketplace to pick up this title for £3.99 ($4.99).
Although Windows Phone 7 coverage at CES 2011 has been a bust (more on that later) a CDMA verion of the HTC Trophy has run its way through the FCC guantlet. There was no direct mention of the "Trophy" name; however, a nearly identical model number to the European version of the Trophy was mentioned in the docs (PC40200 vs PC40100). The device was also granted approval through the WiFi Alliance using the same certificate as HTC's Mozart and Surround.
As previously reported, Verizon is intending to release a WP7 Trophy in early 2011. While it is unclear when exactly "early" refers to, this FCC approval means it's on the horizon. Our bet? Latest: end of February.
Slacker Radio has been one of the cornerstone apps of Windows Phone 7, offering users a solid alternative to that other brand (pssstt..Pandora).
Unbeknownst to us, evidently in Canada you only had a 30-day trial and then it was pay-as-you go at $3.99 a month. Ka-razy! Now, Slacker is changing their tune (see what I did there?) and offering a free-version just like here in the U.S.. Basically every few minutes you'll have to hear an ad in between your songs (so it's like normal radio). Of course our Canadian friends still have the "Plus" option which offers unlimited song-skips, lyrics, song requests and of course, no ads.
Hey, options are good and we're glad for our northern neighbors. Of course you also have that Resco Radio option...just sayin'.
Read our Slacker Radio for Windows Phone 7 review here.
Tactical thinkers and strategists rejoice! Chess, sudoku, and even Minesweeper are here in the second installment of the Game Chest series from Microsoft Game Studios. Game Chest: Logic Games classes up the place and throws down the proverbial gauntlet. Following suit with it's card-based counterpart, this Game Chest bursts open with exceptionally well polished graphics and an atmosphere a class above any other thinking person's game has delivered before.
The mood set by the music and in-game menu is one of sublime problem-solving perfection...
We mentioned earlier about those Game Room titles coming to Windows Phone7 and here are a few others as well, all demoed very quickly on Channel 9. Some titles, like Pac Man (which is receiving some terrible reviews) and Pocket God are already out, others like Full House Poker and Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 are coming down the road.
Overall, the titles look decent but nothing mind-blowing.
For those curious as to what their mobile speed is, you can give BandWidth a shot. Developed by microhaxo from XDA, the app hits the usual servers for your upload/download rates. Pros fo the program included the ability to select servers based on location (including international), data size (small or large) and history for future comparison.
The app is free, no ads and is pretty sharp looking. Only issue we had was with our upload over AT&T's 3G--for sometimes it didn't work (but it did fine over WiFi). Anyways, if you think it's your thing, you can grab it here in the Marketplace.
To little surprise, HTC is still doing very well, fueled mostly by the exponential growth in Android but also those five Windows Phone 7 handsets. According to Bloomberg:
"Fourth-quarter net income climbed to NT$14.6 billion ($500 million) from NT$5.5 billion a year earlier, the Taoyuan, Taiwan-based company said in a statement today.
HTC’s fourth-quarter consolidated sales more than doubled to NT$104 billion, from NT$41 billion a year earlier, it said."
HTC themselves estimated they would ship 9 million handsets in the last three months. However, no sales figures were given in that regard and will be presented instead later in January. While we can't imagine Windows Phone 7 was necessarily a huge part of their surge in growth, analyst Steven Tseng (RBS Asia Ltd.) said "The debut last quarter of Windows Phone 7 models and the release of fourth-generation handsets may help sustain sales growth".
Being so early in the game, we'll take "sustaining growth". We can only imagine what sales will look like one-year from now for Windows Phone 7.x--should be interesting.
For better or worse, if you want to develop for Windows Phone 7 and publish, you have to pay Microsoft $99 for the privilege. However, if you publish two games to the Marketplace, you canget that back in a rebate from big'ol MS. That rebate was set to expire...well soon (it was always a temporary offer). Well, both an extension and a firm date has been given: February 15th, 2011.
So if you haven't yet done so, either publish those titles and/or send in the rebate.
Classic gamers aka old people like us, have reason to celebrate.Game Room, the popular gaming service on Xbox 360 and PC that brings old school titles to today's devices, is coming to Windows Phone soon.
Game Room allows gamers to indulge in various arcade, Intellivision, and Atari 2600 titles, while competing in high score points on leaderboards, achievements and various other areas. The Xbox/PC version is promised to have over 1,000 titles over the next few years. So far, these titles are confirmed for Windows Phone: Centipede, Asteroids Deluxe, Shao-Lin's Road, Time Pilot, Lunar Lander and Pitfall. We dig those. In addition, we can expect "A shared "Game Room" profile and global leaderboards let you track your medals and top scores across the phone, PC and Xbox 360."
The real question for old school gamers is who will win out first: Game Room or the emulator? For the benefit of leaderboards, achievements plus games adapted for our phones, we're actually hoping Game Room pumps out titles very quickly. But we also know they can't just offer every NES game in the world, or any for that matter. Maybe the best of both worlds, eh? Now get off our lawn!
In a plug for Microsoft's Azure cloud service and a win for consumers, Microsoft and Flickr today announced dedicated apps coming to Windows Phone 7 and Windows 7 slates.
The program looks about as smooth and integrated as you can get between cloud-based photo sharing and Windows Phone, demonstrating the strengths of both technologies. Of note is the excellent looking "comment" ability that users will be able to take advantage of when discussing people's photos, plus the basics like exploring your friend's photos, Flickr Explore, etc. Other features include:
Browse your Flickr photos in stunning high resolution display and touch navigation controls
Share photos with friends and family via email, Twitter, Facebook and more
Upload your latest images on the go with the in-app uploader
Seamlessly transition from your Windows Phone 7 to Windows 7 tablet and back again, without ever losing your place
Steve Ballmer has just wrapped up his 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show Keynote Address. He addressed three key components for Microsoft; Xbox 360, Windows 7, and Windows Phone 7.
Discussing how productive 2010 has been for Microsoft, Ballmer described it as a year filled with new experiences for consumers. Ballmer touched on the success of the Windows Phone Marketplace that now has over 5,500 apps and 20,000+ developers on board. On average, Windows Phone users are seeing 100 apps a day introduced to the Marketplace.
The success is being reflected by consumer confidence in that 9 out of 10 AT&T customers would recommend Windows Phone 7 to a friend. It was clear that Microsoft was pleased with the two month impact Windows Phone 7 has had and Ballmer continued to voice a strong commitment to the new phones.
Here are a few points from Ballmer's keynote on what we can expect in 2011 for Windows Phone 7.
OS Updates: Ballmer phrased it: "Over the next few months we will be delivering a series of platform improvements that show we are taking feedback to heart in an effort to continue to enhance the products we release. The updates will be released automatically and will include a few changes". No time frame was set but Ballmer did mention these updates will bring Copy/Paste to Windows Phone 7 as well as "significant improvement in performance when loading or switching between applications".
Sprint and Verizon: During the first half of 2011, Sprint and Verizon will join the Windows Phone family. While there was no mention of which phones are headed where, indications remain that the HTC Trophy is headed to Verizon and the HTC 7 Pro will be Sprint's Windows Phone device.
Games: One of the strengths of Windows Phone 7 is the Xbox Live integration. Windows Phone users will see a series of new Xbox Live games heading to the platform including a version of the popular console game, Fable.
Fable Coin Golf (we're assuming it's a golf themed game) will allow any coins earned on the Windows Phone, carry over to the Xbox Live version of the game. You also have Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 heading to the Windows Phone as well as the much anticipated Zombies!!!.
Apps: We saw a few new apps that caught our interests. There will be an Amazon.com app and a Bank of America app that will allow you to take care of your shopping and banking needs. Hopefully, this will break the ice for more online retailers and financial institutions to bring their apps to Windows Phone 7.
It looks like 2011 is shaping up to be another year filled with new experiences for Microsoft consumers.
Update: See the entire video presentation after the break (grab a coffee, you'll need it, but it's worth it)