Update: as of 12pm, Focus is listed as 'Backordered'
This is no doubt the best deal yet: Walmart, today only, is offering the Samsung Focus for less than free. That's right, they will owe you $25 t if you commit to a 2 year plan and take that beautiful phone from their hands.
During check out, enter in this code: 25rafpcver1 which will take $25 off of the already $0.01 instant price. Part of that discount is a $100 Walmart gift card, which you'll receive by mail (if you order online) but we hear you can get it back instantly if you buy in the store. Note that the "Lets Talks $25 discount" will expire today, meaning tomorrow this phone will only be free with a new contract and more importantly, they don't seem to offer the cheaper 500 minute plan.
Although there have been reports of people porting over WP7 to the HTC HD2 and some chatter of people being able to make ROMs (though not load them), there may yet be one final hurdle that could be very difficult to overcome: PVK.
PVK are the private keys Microsoft evidently uses to sign off on the OS that is also tied to the hardware. Specifically, some aspect of the OS looks for and then pulls these keys from the device motherboard for verification. If the keys cannot be found, the motherboard must be replaced or serviced. While elements of the phone/OS might still work without the PVK key, core elements such as Xbox, Marketplace, Windows Live or Zune...basically any "cloud service" will not.
The challenge to developers/hackers would be to circumvent this security, much like folks have managed to get around Microsoft's Genuine Software checker for Windows 7 and Office products. No easy task, we imagine.
In addition to the above image, there is an accompanying "Service Advisory" on one of the HTC internal sites that reads:
This Service Advisory aims to resolve invalid PVK or PVK missing issue for any returned WP7 units
Condition(s) to follow this service advisory:
1. When customer complains about can not access Microsoft services such as XBOX, Marketplace, Windows Live and Zune on the WP7 devices.
2. When ASP performs diagnostic program test, ASP needs to follow the below repair actions if the diagnostic program detects invalid or missing PVK.
If the PVK is invalid or missing, there will be message on device as following when user try to login to Windows Live service.
To all of this we say good on Microsoft for throwing down some serious security, but alas, the ROM community now has a challenge ahead of itself. Of course, this is probably more motivated by piracy concerns than ROM cookers, but we imagine Microsoft welcomes that as a wanted side effect as well. Combined with the Xbox Live security (see earlier coverage), cracking this OS wide open may be far off.
We mentioned last week that Samsung was making Windows Phone 7 its number one OS, knocking Android down a notch and putting their own Bada OS in a distant third.
Now a graph, reportedly from Samsung themselves, seemingly confirms the earlier story that for 2011 Samsung will put Windows Phone on 63% of its smartphone releases. Android follows in a distant second with just 32% and Bada at a tiny 6%.
Samsung must see something special with Windows Phone 7 and evidently that "licensing cost" argument is blown out of the water. Free licenses alone won't win you OEM love, our little robot friend. Now if Sammy could just bring their Super AMOLED gear to the remaining carriers...
Update: We think the Windows Phone team may be getting their releases mixed up as in a follow up tweet they now say "Verizon is a valued partner and we look forward to seeing Windows Phone 7 devices in their stores in 2011." Going further, they evidently deleted the earlier tweet you see snapped above ;-/
It appears that Verizon customers will be enjoying Windows Phone 7 this holiday season after all. A tweet from @windowsphone is giving a strong indication of such and not mincing words about it either; "devices will be rolling into Verizon stores this holiday season and more will arrive in early 2011."
It's a shame these tweets didn't offer more detail such as when exactly the Windows Phone will hit Verizon and which phone(s) will be first. We've seen signs that the HTC Trophy 7 is confirmed for Verizon but not expected until early 2011. Could the production time table have shortened for the Trophy?
Or will we see another Windows Phone 7 device appear on the radar for the holidays and the Trophy will be a part of the "more" devices in early 2011?
Miss Bubble Breaker from your old Windows Mobile Phone? Have no fear, Blue Rose Systems has just what you need. Popper 2 (link will open your Zune browser) is a bubble-breaker styled game that has three game modes to give it a unique feel and sets it apart from the traditional game we've grown accustomed to.
Not too surprising as it turns out some of our readers have had problems with these (assuming they were legit cards to begin with, since Sandisk cards are easy to fake). Lets just hope those who have purchased can do a full-refund for their purchase.
This went from confusing to not bad to okay to just awful pretty quickly.
Dell's building up to a re-launch of sorts for the Dell Venue Pro. The Windows Phone 7 device has been hard to find since it launched a few weeks ago but Dell is reporting that production is being ramped up so the phone can be launched on a bigger scale. It's as if Dell's announcing they're taking a mulligan or a do-over on the Venue Pro's launch.
"Bottom line, Dell wants to be sure when you place an order that we can ship your Venue Pro in a timely manner."
While it's nice to see Dell working towards such a standard, there was no mention as to when we'll see the "bigger scaled launch". When Dell recognized problems with the Venue Pro's Wi-fi, they expected shipments to resume on November 19th. Add the issues experienced in the U.K. causing shipments delayed until January 2011, we might be in for a longer than expected wait.
Now as far as the expansion card, in the same post, Dell will only support the micro-SD card configuration that you order. They warn if you remove the Venue Pro's microSD card, the phone will not work. While there may be a way to dismantle the Venue Pro, the microSD cared slot was designed not to be user-accessible.
We received an email asking about importing contacts, photos, and documents that are stored on a SIM card. Mike writes that he's using a Samsung Jack and wants to move to the LG Quantum.
My contacts are all on my sim card. My email and calendar are gmail/google, so that's not a concern. I have a windows live ID (xbox gaming) but not a hotmail email address. The stuff I'm concerned about transferring over are my sim card info (contacts), storage card info (mostly documents), text messages, videos, and photos.
For the photos, videos and documents our suggestion is to sync the Samsung Jack with your computer and then transfer the photos and videos through your Zune software. The easiest way to transfer the documents is via email or you could use Sharepoint or try this method.
The contacts is the simplest item on the SIM to transfer. After you plug in your SIM and get your Windows Phone 7 up and running, go into the Settings Menu. Swipe over to the Applications Page and down to the "People" settings. Here you will find a button labeled "import SIM contacts".
Thanks goes out to Mike for emailing us this question. If you have any questions about Windows Phone 7, feel free to send them to us via our contact form.
WPCentral and Slacker Radio would like to thank everyone who participated in the Giveaway Contest. We've randomly selected six winners from the discussion going on over in the forums on the Windows Phone 7 update and they are:
We'll be sending out emails to the lucky winners shortly with information on the three month subscription to Slacker Radio they have won!
Again, we would like to thank our readers for participating in the discussion as well as Slacker Radio for sponsoring the event.
The other day we reported on the new $0.99 Browser Plus, which adds tabbed browsing to Mobile Internet Explorer. One downside was the lack of landscape support and also some complained it was slow on loading.
Now the developer, Sriram Krishnan who works for Microsoft, has already cranked out an update and we have to give it a huge thumbs up. Landscape support is now enabled and works extremely well and allowing tabs to be fully visible. It also seems to load web pages more quickly and "Private Mod" has been fixed to read just "Private" now, which allows traceless browsing.
If you were hesitant before, you shouldn't be now as this is now our default browser on our phone. Watch the video to see the new features in action.
Although the little battery meter on all Windows Phone 7 devices gives you a rough idea of remaining juice, if it's one thing Windows Mobile users of past want it's 1% battery readings (we're a finicky bunch, aren't we?)
Luckily on the Samsung Focus there is a way to find out the exact battery level. While not the easiest method, it's far from hard either. As I demonstrate in the video above, you can simply enter the diagnostic menu (Dialer --> ##634# and select “Call“) then enter in *#2*# to reveal the battery level. The next time you want to check, just run the "Diagnosis" program in your program menu list and dial in *#2*# for easier reference.
Looks like Tim's skepticism regarding Sony Ericsson jumping on board Windows Phone 7 was justified, though perhaps for other reasons. While no mention of conflicting interests in gaming (Playstation vs Xbox), SE seems to be not too excited about the strict hardware requirements and lack of customization allowed on Microsoft's OS.
Sony Ericsson France CEO Pierre Perron summed up their position as thus:
With Windows 7 we run the risk of standardising our smartphones. We would be obliged to compete only on design on price, which we want to avoid.
The bit of silver lining here is that SE is in talks with Microsoft about carrying the OS, so that part is true. But considering how unremarkable SE's offerings have been of late, we can't say we're exactly forlorn over this decision if it sticks. If it's one thing SE should avoid, is adding their "special touch to the software. Take a hint, guys.
While we like the Zune Desktop client quite a bit, sometimes finding apps or browsing for them can be a little sluggish. Luckily, a new website has launched that helps to cut all the fluff out and get right to the point.
Marketplace Browser is a streamlined site that references all the apps in the Marketplace, allowing you to search or just browse apps, including the Top 100 or Categories (no "latest" but we're sure that's coming).
Once you find an app, you can read about it, see screenshots and the best part: click to load it up in Zune Desktop to install. This last trick is the sweet spot as it works in Chrome and Firefox (not just IE) and will allow very quick installations of found apps.
The developer Paul Willen considers it a work in progress, so we can expect additions and improvements in the future. Regardless, we recommend it right now.