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!
Some more good news, we suppose, coming from Microsoft suggests that many developers have taken an interest in the Windows Phone Marketplace, launched just last month. Evidently, Microsoft has seen registration increase by 40% over the last few weeks, bringing the total amount of registered developers to a sizable 12,000.
While we don't necessarily expect 12,000 apps right away, we assume some of those developers will make multiple programs, meaning we won't have any shortage anytime soon. But enough tip calculators, m'kay?
We knew Microsoft adding phone locating services to Windows Live in the form of "Find My Phone" and now we've seen it in action. The Find My Phone services are found on your Windows Live home page under "Devices". You'll see a list of all your Windows Live supported devices and under your Windows Phone, you'll see the Find My Phone options.
When you click on "find this phone" you are given four options;
Map it: Marks your phone's approximate location on Bing Maps
Ring it: Will ring your phone for one minute using a distinctive ring tone (even if the phone's set to vibrate or silent)
Lock it: Locks your phone
Erase it: Performs a hard reset
In testing each option on the HTC Surround, you don't have to wait long for results. The Windows Phone was mapped, rang and locked in seconds after I clicked each command. The map location can be zoomed in and my location was narrowed down to a 20 yard area.
Not gonna lie: When I played the Sims on my Gameboy Advance SP (the best one) along with the Urbz (Sims in the city), I was totally hooked on playing it everyday. I still jokingly make the "hungry noise" when I need mad eats.
Needless to say, I'm really nerdily excited about downloading the Sims 3 for Windows Phone 7 next week. It's already in the Marketplace, but EA just posted some more screenshots to look at till then because teasing is evidently fun. In addition, you can see a video of it in action after the break, posted by PocketNow.
As these new WP7 devices become more and more available, slight differences are starting to become evident. One of those differences appears to be load times for video games, with the Samsung clearly beating the HTC 7 Trophy out in a head-to-head.
Much speculation has been circulating that the reason for the difference is the memory: the Omnia 7 uses Samsung's NAND chips while HTC uses internal memory with expandable microSD, causing slower performance. While this was "theory" a few days ago, it appears now to be accurate and we agree with that this is the culprit (but are open to other ideas).
So that may be the trade off folks: expandable memory vs. faster speeds. Which do you prefer? It is worth noting for U.S. customers that the HD7, Samsung Focus and Surround all have microSD cards (and probably Dell Venue Pro), so there's really not much choice. Only the LG Optimus is unconfirmed for its memory configuration.
The HTC Surround is right around the corner from hitting the shelves at AT&T and we were able to spend some time with the new Windows Phone over the past few days. The HTC Surround lives up to HTC's reputation for quality phones. It's not without shortcomings but overall, the Surround is a nice addition to the Windows Phone family.
The tell of the tape has the HTC Surround measuring 4.71" x 2.42" x .51" and weighs 5.82 ounces. The Surround was thinner than expected but after using the HTC Tilt2 for the past year, most phones would come across thinner than expected. The 3.8" WVGA screen may not be as large as the HD7's 4.3" big screen but it has plenty of real estate.
Follow the break to read more of our review on the HTC Surround...
Although we've known about this device for quite some time now, the HTC T9199 aka the Oboe is close to a release in China as it was just "officially" announced. The device is actually quite nice, even if it is still running WM6.5.3. Think HD2 but dual CDMA and GSM. No date or price has been announced but we imagine it is imminent.
Rest of the specs, to refresh are as follows:
512MB RAM/512 ROM
BT 2.1, Wifi, aGPS, 3.5mm headset, etc.
800x480 4.3" screen
It actually seems like quite a nice phone, albeit 6 months too late for the U.S. market. Still, for China, it may do well, even with Windows Phone 7 on the horizon there.
Well, there's no direct evidence to support this, though we've heard rumors internally that this was coming real soon in addition to this new tidbit: MS_Nerd is reporting that Sprint will begin pre-orders for the much anticipated Sprint 7 Pro on Wednesday, December 8th.
No word on actual release date, though we can guess.
Update:BGR is reporting that this pre-order is happening, but only for Microsoft employees. That's certainly a new one on us, though perhaps it has to do with those 89,000 devices they have to give out. We also think that a public pre-order can't be to far behind this one.
Some preliminary news coming from O2 suggests that the HTC HD7 is quite the hit, with pre-orders being sold out and the telecom reporting "at least five-digit sales". O2 also have an exclusive on the device till an unknown time, similar to T-Mobile U.S.
So far, no word on our side of the pond on HD7 pre-orders and it will be interesting to see how next Monday goes when the device is finally made available. It's not clear if T-Mo will carry it in stores that day too, but we'll keep an ear out. Any of you get your orders in or are you waiting?
Likewise, some TV & YouTube spots are now appearing, including the three after the break. All three are very short (15 second spots) and continue the theme of "we need a phone to save us from our phones", which some people like and others are 'meh' about. We fall into the former category as we think they're at least conversation starters, mildly shocking and certainly entertaining.
Still no word about T-Mobile ads as they get ready to launch their HD7 next Monday as well. Check the ads after the break, especially the "bedroom" one. Saucy.
Windows Phone 7 has some speed to it. From running apps to simply starting up your Windows Phone, the zip Windows Phone 7 has is a noticeable improvement over Windows Mobile. The 1ghz processor helps speed things along nicely.
While the HTC Surround's start-up speed isn't as fast as what we've seen with the HTC HD7 boot times, it's still very respectable. From pressing the power button to seeing the Start Screen is just a smidgen over thirty seconds.
When you remove the battery cover, you'll see the SIM card slot and next to it a metal cover that's just about the right size for a memory card. The cover is secured by the phone's backing that is riddled with tiny screws with "VOID" stickers covering them. You also have several metal tabs/hooks that pinch into the backing to help hold it in place plus, what appears to be, a plastic rivet holding things down as well. On top of all that, there's no mention of accessing the microSD card slot in the User's Manual.
While I'm sure some creative minds will find a way to disassemble the Surround and expose the microSD slot, a few thoughts come to mind:
If HTC wanted us to have access to the slot, they would have made it easier to get to
Even though you could probably disassemble/reassemble the Surround you void the warranty and there's no guarantee it will accept another card
As secure as the Surround's backing appears to be, you run the risk of damaging something. Making re-assembly all the more difficult.
While it would have been nice to see an openly accessible expansion slot, I'm sure 16gb's of memory will be plenty for most users.
Someone had some extra time at XDA and went the extra mile, tearing down their Omnia 7 to its barest parts. Pretty amazing to see it all stripped down.
Unfortunately, it looks like Samsung opted for soldered NAND memory instead of an replaceable microSD card, meaning the Omnia 7 is stuck at just 8GB (or 16GB on some models) for eternity. Of course, this makes us wonder about the decision process in regards to memory and it being user-replaceable or not. It seems that if Samsung never wanted you to touch it, they would just use NAND, which we now know they have access to and no problem using.