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!
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.