We've already seen how on LG and Samsung phones, accessing the diagnostic menu can allow one to enable USB tethering. Now it is becoming evident that we can run unmanaged, native code on our phones too. Well kind of.
First, unmanaged, native code just means direct access to the software systems e.g. phone, email, etc., not just Silverlight applications that 3rd parties use. Second, the requirement here is you need to be able to sideload apps and only developers who pay the $99 fee get access to that feature. However, we've already heard from one of our sources that the whole "unlocking" business is tied to a single registry edit, meaning it may not be hard to circumvent at all.
What this all means is this: we may, at some point, be able to load custom software that not only is not approved by Microsoft, but changes fundamental restrictions on the device as well. In addition, changes to Metro UI may be possible. Of course, we won't be able to distribute these through the Marketplace, so you'll have to have the iPhone-model of a Cydia-like store. Cydia is the non-approved Apple App store where all the "hacks" and non-approved software are distributed. We so no reason why this won't happen eventually for Windows Phone either.
All of this comes back to what happened today with Australian developer Chris Walshie who was able to run unmanaged, native code on his device. The file modified “Microsoft.Phone.InteropServices” which may allow COM access in the future. By being able to modify that and write into a program, he was able to do something that only Microsoft, carriers and OEMs could do. In other words, today was the 1st day and 1st big step in "freeing" our phones.
Just when you thought we had heard the last of Microsoft's Kin One and Kin Two, they find a way back into the news. Even after their death, we saw not only one update but two updates. Now it appears their absence may be short lived.
The Kin is listed as coming back as early as this quarter on a Verizon device guide, identifying the target audience being young adults/teens. Could this simply be an attempt on Verizon's part to liquidate the KIN inventory that's collecting dust in a warehouse or an effort to revive the Windows Phone?
If it's the latter, Verizon will have to work on device and service pricing. The units will be harder to sell to the younger crowd if they are priced along side other smartphones. We felt that the Kin phones were nice but not for everyone. A step above featured phones but they didn't rise to the level of what we expect from a Windows Phone.
If Verizon can market and price the Kin with that in mind, they might actually sell more than handful of units this time.
Much like the Samsung Focus and Omnia 7, the LG Optimus 7 has also been shown to be able to USB Tether as a modem. Once again, it's a bit tricky, requiring some drivers to download and tinkering with a diagnostic menu, but overall is pretty straightforward.
Directions are posted after the break.
There's a good chance that the LG Quantum will be able to do the same, seeing as they are essentially sister devices. Considering how cheap the Quantum is going for on Amazon Wireless (that'd be 1 cent), it might be a good investment.
Okay, not really. But WP7 did get another product placement last night when Dr. Temperance 'Bones' Brennan received an important text message during an interrogation.
Once again, it was LG that received the honor of placement, much like last week on The Vampire Diaries and earlier this week on Hawaii Five-0. We're not sure how they get all the promo spots, but hey, seems to work.
What show will our trusty new OS appear on next? Stay tuned!
While we like to showcase the "big" apps here at WPCentral, we can't forget the thousands of indy develoeprs out there.
WikiRand is one of my new favorite apps due to its simplicity and feeding on my unsatiiable quest for odd knowledge. The program adds a Tile to your start screen and it randomly downloads articles from Wikipedia. It then displays the image from that article and title, giving you a sneak peak.
The app automatically updates, though I'm not sure how often (looks to be every hour) and wile you can turn that on/off, you can't set the interval. It doesn't use much data as the article is only downloaded if you click the tile. It can take a few seconds to load over 3G but it's fast over Wi-Fi. Other than that though, for $0.99 (Try-before-you-buy is available) you can't beat it.
Out of an online poll of 42,000+ respondents, a whopping 76% responded in the negative AT&Ts question on whether they would buy a Windows Phone 7 device.
Considering how well Windows Phone 7 works with Facebook and Microsoft's deep connections to the social site (via Bing), those sure are some high negatives. Microsoft certainly has their work cut out for them, but this is a marathon, not a sprint. I'd also make some joke about teenagers and Facebook, but I think there are more older folk than younger ones these days. Could also be that they're thinking of Windows Mobile, not WP7.
[Related note: everyone who sees my Samsung Focus is pretty blown away by it]
One of the more anticipated Windows Phone 7 releases was the Samsung Focus. The black slab phone gained appeal with its 4" super-AMOLED screen and thin form factor making it one of the more anticipated Windows Phone 7 releases.
The tell of the tape has the Focus measuring in at 4.8" tall x 2.5" wide x .4" thick and weighing a meager 3.88 ounces. The Focus sports a glossy black and gray finish with chrome accents. It feels solid in the hand with just enough curves to eliminate a boxy feel.
Join us after the break for more on the Samsung Focus.
Using that coupon gets you to $74.99 which is ridiculously low. What's unclear is the order of the pricing: is it $99 after the $25 coupon or before? I'm leaning towards before, making this a heck of deal. We'll update as soon as it becomes clear.
Update: Indeed, the price is just $74.99 after doing the above! Great time to pick up that HD7.
Title says it all. Till Monday, you can grab yourself a new HTC Surround or LG Quantum (no Focus, sorry) for a low one-cent with a new contract. You'll have to "add to cart" to see the price: LG Quantum, HTC Surround. Of note is that the Surround is the #2 best selling phone, followed by the LG.
Part of Amazon's running deals, including a few other phones like the LG eXpo. Seems like a great deal to us.
In the on going saga of the Venue Pro, Dell finally had to come clean on the matter. Faced with shipping delays, lack of availability and Wi-Fi connection issue (can't connect to secured networks), the hardware maker is not off to a great start despite much customer anticipation.
The Wi-Fi issue stems from an error during production, which seems sort of obvious at this point. Devices purchased at the Microsoft store can be exchanged for new ones starting at the end of next week. Likewise, some of the Venue Pros were sold with mislabeled batteries, stating that they were "engineering" i.e. not for retail versions.
No word on whether production can or will be ramped up or whether you'll be able to get your hands on one anytime soon. We already mentioned the delay at Clove UK and it seems that at least for a few months, Venue Pros will be tough to come by. Hopefully Dell can get this all figured out as the Venue is one slick looking device.
Holding out on a Windows Phone 7 device until the holiday savings hit? Your wait is over.
AT&T is offering a $100 discount on select phones that includes the Samsung Focus and HTC Surround. As with most offers, there are a few catches.
The offer requires online activation on qualified rate plans $39.99 or more with a two year agreement. The iPhone, Gophones, netbooks and other devices are not eligible but we did add both the Focus and Surround to a shopping cart and their price dropped from $199.99 to $99.99.
There was no indication on AT&T's site on how long this promotion will last. Oh, and as an added bonus, you get free two-day Priority Shipping on your order.
Finally some decent looking AT&T ads are showing up on TV and the internets. What's nice is that these commercials focus on the phones themselves, demonstrating some of their unique capabilities. One shows the awe inducing screen of the Samsung Focus the other the great speakers of the Surround (see review) While short, they're at least headed in the right direction.
Now if AT&T could only get some Focus's in stock! Let us know what you think in comments.
Looks like a good morning for Samsung users! Taking that diagnostic menu one step further has allowed folks to figure out how to tether their Samsung WP7 devices, in addition to (the less exciting) MAC ID address.
The hack is pretty straightforward, though it will hose your Zune-over-3G sync option (leaving Wi-Fi sync intact). Overall it sounds like a good solution, so long as you don't run over your cap (2GB for most on AT&T).
Registering may fail on the first attempt, but try a second time and it should succeed.
Open your phone and dial “##634#” then press call. You’ll go into the Diagnosis Menu (going forward this icon appears in your programs so you don’t need to dal that again). This is just a phone dialer with a little icon and note on top.
In diagnosis mode (phone dialer) dial “*#7284#” and a dialogue will pop up letting you change the settings from Zune to modem or “Modem, USB dialog.”. You want to go with “Modem, Tethered Call”. It will restart you phone after a few seconds. Once it restarts, connect to your PC over USB and drivers will be installed on your computer. Now go to your connections on your PC and you’ll see that a Samsung modem was added.
On your PC you need to change the setting for the Samsung modem. If you set it to prompt for user name you’ll be able to put in the login info. This is all it is: