Today, AT&T and Samsung have been hammering the press with the imminent Samsung launch this Monday, including the "Mobile Minute" video which is basically a feature tour of the Focus. At 0:55, Peter Ocampo discusses the 8GB on-board memory and specifically says "...and expandable memory up to 32GB", which should once and for all put to rest the issue.
So buy that 32GB microSD card now and enjoy the Focus, which from word of mouth is going to be the hottest WP7 device launched this year. Watch the full video after the break!
Now, the Marketplace has flung open its doors to the masses, enabling the self-serving submission process which should mean a flood of more apps and games over the next couple of weeks. It will be interesting to see how much of an increase we see.
In a new survey conducted by Millennial Media of 500 publishers, developers and advertisers, nearly 20% are planning to focus their work on Windows Phone 7 in the next year. The iPhone garners 30% interest right now but Android is expected to close in that gap by hitting 29% next year.
To put into perspective, Windows Phone 7 achieving 20% interest seems to be a definitive sign that developers and publishers are taking it seriously, that they have confidence in the platform and that Microsoft is really throwing some weight behind it.
About 24 months ago, Microsoft began to re-build it's mobile operating system and while there may be signs of Windows Mobile under the hood, you can barely see any resemblance from the working end of Windows Phone 7. With Windows Phone 7, you need to forget everything you know about Windows Phones.
After using Windows Phones based on Windows Mobile for years, it's tough to let go of the old while learning the new. For those familiar with Windows Mobile, I'm inclined to describe Windows Phone 7 as a peppier, streamlined version of Windows Mobile Standard. The OS is straight forward with minimal settings to tweak. It's a very fast OS and while there is a lot to Windows Phone 7, it doesn't take long to learn your way around it.
I've spent several days using the new mobile OS and ease on past the break to read my observations on Windows Phone 7.
No doubt, one of the coolest features of Windows Phone 7 and the companion Zune Desktop software is the ability to sync wirelessly. For years we've had to endure tethering our devices to our computers, loose USB wires everywhere, etc. (Even more ironic if you remember wireless syncing in ActiveSync before they removed it).
Consider this more of a walk-through/what to expect than a true "setup guide" only because Microsoft made it so easy that you really should have no problem figuring it out. Still, we'll show a couple screen shots of the process as well as tell you what you can expect. In short, it's a great feature and once you have your GBs of music loaded, you'll want to use everyday.
Wish we could see these numbers ourselves, but tracking down Morgan Stanley reports without access is a bit tricky. But to quote from Business Insider, whom we think we can trust on such an issue, the global financial service predicted in a report this morning that Microsoft could sell upwards of 4 million devices with Windows Phone 7 and another 1.5 million of Windows Mobile 6.5.x.
Is that good? Is that bad? Hard to say really as Microsoft is launching their new OS "globally", so in theory they could push a lot more. On the other hand, due to supply constraints and "growing" the v1.0 OS, things might take awhile to take off (Android had a nice 9 month incubation phase too). By way of comparison, Apple is pushing nearly double that of the iPhone every quarter right now. However, Apple didn't sell that many iPhones till their sixth quarter--so we kind of like those numbers, we think.
In related news, they predict that since the smartphone market is still growing, Microsoft (and to a lesser extent, HP Palm) still have time to make a dent in the increasingly crowded smartphone business. But eventually, the market will hit a wall and the herd will have to be culled (cough, HP Palm, cough).
One little feature that was mentioned long ago for Windows Phone 7 was the ability for Microsoft to have a "kill switch" for any "rogue apps" in the Marketplace. Similar to the iPhone and even on Android (to a lesser extent), Microsoft can quickly unpublish an app from the store and in a worse-case-scenario, remove the app from all devices. While this was a known feature, it wasn't understood how the mechanism exactly worked, until today.
In an interview with PC Pro, Todd Biggs, director of product management for Windows Phone Marketplace, described how such a situation could unfold:
If in the Marketplace an app does get through and goes rogue there are a couple of things we can do about it, depending on what it was...
We could unpublish it from the catalog so that it was no longer available, but if it was very rogue then we could remove applications from handsets - we don't want things to go that far, but we could.
The method is simple: our Windows Phone 7 devices periodically "check in" with the Marketplace to see if there are any updates. During that process, Microsoft could "pull" an app from everyone's device if it contained a threat. Now, seeing as MS has strict publishing/approval requirements just to get to the Marketplace, this will probably never be used. But they did think ahead, just in case.
Trying to make the hard decision between the different (some might say nearly identical) Windows Phone 7 devices on AT&T? LG is looking to make your decision easier by announcing that they will be giving away 10 Windows Phone 7 apps in 60 days - with a value they say is more than thirty bucks. They're also giving love to developers by promoting their apps on the LG Facebook page.
LG is also promising to get into the app development (and app store) game themselves:
LG will also be offering its Windows Phone 7 customers free access to even more applications developed directly by the company. These applications will also be available from the LG Application Store and will span social networking services, such as Type n Walk and Voice SNS, as well as practical tools like Subway AR.
We're not going to raise the spectre of fragmentation caused by apps available in one store but not the main marketplace, because at least in this case it looks like instead of pre-loading what some might consider bloatware on their devices, LG is apparently making them available for download. Another benefit of the LG App Store, again, is that's where you go to find them free apps.
The breakdown of what they're gifting: Look n Type, Workout Tracker, Photo Stylist, Fortune Coins, Caddy Buddy, Metro Scanner, Tool Box, I'm a Musician - Guitar, I'm a Musician - Piano, and Voice to Text. So no, not life changing, but if nothing else a clever way to get their customers used to checking their App Store in addition to the Marketplace.
Here are some more details of that program just given to Microsoft employees:
Do NOT purchase your Windows Phone 7 device prior to November 18, 2010 or after June 15, 2011 . You will not receive reimbursement for your phone purchase if you have purchased your phone outside of the start or end date of the program. (A preorder may be placed through an authorized channel prior to November 18, but not an actual purchase).
Seems like a fair system: employee picks phone and carrier, pre-orders/purchases through authorized channel, Microsoft reimburses you for the device. No other details were given but it sounds good to us!
It's nice to know with just 6 days left to launch, AT&T is starting to rev up the PR engines. In a just released a new "Mobile Minute" video, part of their continuing series, This time, AT&T focuses on the new LG Quantum which features that handsome sliding keyboard.
Nothing we don't already know is revealed in the video, so hardly a must-see. But if you're in the market for the Quantum, then you'll want to tease yourself. Indeed, that keyboard is quite awesome to type on. Full video after the break!
In an interesting article at ComputerWorld, Microsoft discusses their new Metro UI and how efficient it is at doing basic, everyday tasks. In turn, this "20%" number is thrown around a bit, with the claim that it takes much less effort to use their mobile OS over others.
While 20% is numerically hard to substantiate, is easy to validate in certain areas. The appeal for Windows Mobile, for many, was the Today Screen, where you could pack a ton of info to your liking so that with a one-look glance you knew what was up in your world. Having easy access to the calendar when you turn it on, one-button search (something Android actually pioneered), as well as dynamic tiles continues this tradition in WP7. The good news is it sounds like Microsoft took a page from Palm's book, where they notoriously would count the number of "taps" it took to do a task and aim to reduce that as a metric for efficiency.
CW goes to mention that this whole simple UI/20% efficiency thing is the basis for their new ad campaign. Who knows, maybe Microsoft is onto something here. Palm's Garnet/WebOS and the iPhone all do well for their simplicity and elegance, the same rule should apply to Microsoft.
Well, at least we have some good news for today. Looks like the much anticipated Dell Venue Pro has received a pass from the FCC, as found out by our friends at TmoNews, giving a clear pathway to launch. Well, assuming there aren't any shortages.
While the Venue Pro goes on sale in Europe next week on the 8th (non-US GSM bands) there are no dates nor prices for the U.S. launch, meaning we still may be a few weeks out. Still, that's one less hurdle in the way.
We have to admit, it's a tough choice between the Focus, HD7 and Venue Pro.
This is the big question everyone is wondering about now: how will next Monday go when Windows Phone 7 finally goes on sale? More specifically, will there be enough to go around?
UK operator Orange is reporting shortages, including an email that was sent out that stated
We will be launching with limited amounts of both our Windows Phone 7 devices, the HTC 7 Mozart and the Samsung Omnia 7. We are, however, anticipating that our competitors could be in a similar situation.
And that's from the lead launch partner over there. In turn, Orange is offering a gift certificate to HMV as an apology. Now, Business Insider is wondering the same about the U.S. market. Shortages are appearing most likely due to a lack of available components, most likely being AMOLED screens. HTC has had to replace its AMOLED screens with Sony's Super LCD technology because Samsung cannot produce enough (evidently they are building another factory to meet demand). On a conspiratorial note, BI notes that how Google is suppose to launch their G2 phone on the same day as the Windows Phone launch here in the U.S. Samsung is rumored to making that phone, though they have denied it.
All we know is AT&T is no where to be found for pre-orders with just 6 days left. Foreboding?
There was a pretty cool announcement yesterday over at the Windows Team Blog by Microsoft's GPM, Dick Craddock, on how to set up any existing e-mail account from any service to work in tandem with Hotmail.
Just as the suite of free software packed in the set of Windows Live Essentials has become better and better over time, so too has the feature set of the Windows Live service. The social life of Messenger has become extensively robust - even including a free HD video service that rivals Skype and puts Google's video chat to shame. Mesh and Skydrive leave you with nearly no excuse to not have the files you need or having the Office applications to run or edit them. Finally, Hotmail brings it all together by syncing your Calender and Contacts from multiple accounts and services and keeping you up to date on external services like Flickr, YouTube, Facebook and more - and sorting it for you.
There are plenty of reasons why someone would want to condense their e-mail services. From Microsoft's standpoint, this can get people who are too set on using their current e-mail provider to give Hotmail a try without feeling a jolt of e-mail culture shock. Secondly, it could get people who stopped using Hotmail to come back.
We're going to take a quick look at why you should give it a try, or for a lot more of you, why you should try it again. Keep reading after the break as we show you everything you need to know!