In our forums, poster MarcMaidenhappened to have a conversation with a Microsoft employee who stopped by his work (AT&T). The MS employee, who will remain anonymous, was "...going to a few stores and retailers to see what kind of response we were getting...looking for feedback to send to the developers to know what exactly they should work on."
Marc asked him a few questions about the platform and the answers are quite revealing, namely about that rumored January firmware update which should bring quite a bit of functionality to the OS.
Q:Why isn't there an option to add custom ring tones?
A: Microsoft is working on an application that will be included in an update in January which will allow the consumer to edit, customize, and add ring tones of their choice. This app will also include a user "library" to search and download ring tones.
Q: What about turn by turn navi?
A We are beta testing it right now. again, ETA January.
Not really too much info, but with Copy/Paste, custom ringer support, turn by turn navigation in Bing, Skydrive and possibly multi-tasking support (via hubs), this should be pretty huge. Not yet a member of forums?Hop in and join the conversation!
Setup by Justin Angel (see Neurons app) and a bunch of Silverlight developers, its goal is to document and represent the "...current consensus around development best practices for Windows Phone 7. These best practices are collaboratively developed and discussed by the WP7 developers community."
Looks great to us and should be a valuable tool for the community.
While some may not like the controls Microsoft has put in place with Windows Phone 7, there is one positive. Carrier bloatware or branded applications has been significantly reduced on the new Windows Phone.
With AT&T, the carrier software has been reduced to five applications on Windows Phone 7. No longer do you have to worry with trial versions of Ms. Pac-man or banking software and best of all, what's installed can be uninstalled.
We took a look at what AT&T has installed on thier Windows Phone 7 devices and ease on past the break for an overview of the apps and to see what should stay or go.
The good news is the phone is a also a quad-band GSM world phone, perfect for you globe trotting business peeps. The bad news is that it's the HTC Trophy. While a solid little phone with generally positive reviews, it is pretty much the runt of the litter with a 3.8" screen, 16GB of memory (not bad), Wi-Fi and a 5MP camera (the Mozart with the unibody design and 8MP camera is the upgraded version)
But hey, at least we know Verizon is now on the up and up with WP7 and that's always good news.
If you're like me, you enjoy a change of scenery every once in awhile on your mobile. And on Windows Phone 7, that is limited at this point to altering the lock-screen photo. While using your pics is certainly a fun twist, having access to a resource bin of images is even better.
Wallpapers HD is a nice freeware app in the Marketplace that just does that. While the interface is a little odd at time (no swiping), the daily updates and wide ranging categories make it quite useful and fun to have your on your device. In addition, the ability to download pre-cropped images or the full version for your own editing makes it a winner. Check out the video hands on to get an idea of what to expect!
The tale of expandable storage on Windows Phone 7 is certainly convoluted. We know that they take them, but we also know it's very finicky. When we met with Samsung on October 11th, they told us it wa a permanent change to the device and that once you insert that card, that's it, there's no going back. We wrote back then:
Basically you can any size card you like, but you can't remove it without hard-resetting the phone and it's not clear that the card would be re-usable if you do remove it. So essentially, if you add a 16GB or 32GB card, that's it, you got your shot.
Engadget recently confirmed this, noting that the cards were unusable and cannot even be reformatted. Going further, AT&T changed their tune saying don't add any memory to the Focus, not yet at least. The problem is waiting on specific cards that were "certified" to be used on our devices, cards that met certain performance standards.
Today, Samsung moved very quickly (1 week, not bad) to the controversy and said that Sandisk 8GB Class 2 cards will work on our devices. The bad news is that their support doesn't seem to know that the Focus only has 8GB on board, not 16GB. Going further, this sounds kind of iffy at best. While we don't doubt the 8GB Class 2 cards will work, the whole "officially certified" thing sounds like it is still weeks away from happening.
Hi, actually the Samsung Focus has a 16GB internal memory and expandable up to 32GB. So you can insert a 32GB micro SD card on this device. However there are certain limitations when it comes to the micro SD card. Compatible micro SD cards will be branded as “Windows Phone 7 Compatible” on the packaging. Approved cards can be obtained from the manufacturer or carrier. (The SanDisk 8GB class 2 micro SD card has been certified.) Many commercially available retail micro SD cards are not approved for use in Windows Phone 7. Use of unapproved cards may cause performance degradation or device instability, including unexpected reset and loss of user data. A micro SD card class is not an indication of meeting Windows Phone 7 requirements.
The LG Quantum is becoming available online through AT&T and Microsoft. AT&T had the new Windows Phones on pre-order status but are now accepting online orders with nothing noted as to delays in shipping. The Quantum is also available at Microsoft's online store, again with no shipping or inventory issues noted. Amazon.com still has the phone listed as unavailable.
As expected, AT&T is selling the Windows Phone 7 device for $199.99 with the two year contractual discounts and $499.99 without the discounts. Microsoft is selling the Quantum for $479.99 out of contract. Both sites are offering free shipping.
No sightings on the LG at AT&T retail stores as of yet. If you've ordered or found the LG in stores, let us know in the comments. It's nice to see the Quantum join the mix of Windows Phone 7 devices.
A minor, but important, advancement was just accomplished by the same developer, Chris Walsh, who just tweeted that he has managed to get "registry and file system access" on an HTC and Samsung device, noting that the LG was next. This is good news because it shows that this type of work is device independent--something we would assume to be the case, but as the Samsung/LG tethering tricks show, sometimes there are device level differences after all.
Curious what the current exchange rate is for the Croatian Kuna? How about the Turkish Lira?
Well there's a Windows Phone 7 application available for $.99 at the Marketplace that will help you with all your currency conversions. Currencies (link opens your Zune browser) is a currency converter that makes use of the Windows Phone 7 hub layout with pages for your favorites currencies, exchange rates, a currency converter and settings.
You can set any of the currencies as your home currencies and the exchange rates are based off that currency. Exchange rates are updated daily to keep things current. Currency settings on the converter can be changed by tapping each square to pull up a listing of currencies you can convert to and from.
Currencies is a straightforward, simple to use, stable application for your Windows Phone. There is a trial version available if you want to try before you buy. If you have a need for currency conversion, Currenciesis worth a look.
Hit the jump to see a short video demo for Currencies.
The Weather Channel is offering a free weather application for Windows Phone 7 over at the Marketplace. The application makes the most out of the hub system providing local weather information, forecasts, radar maps, locations, and menus to other Weather Channel services. In addition, you have a live tile that can be pinned to your Start Screen which will display the current temperature and a icon representing current conditions.
To read more on The Weather Channel application, follow the break.
And by haircut we mean had his head shaved by a bunch of fellow Microsoft employees.
Watson should be a familiar name by now. He's the Director of Developer Experience at Microsoft, overseeing the roll-out of the tools and ecosystem that developers rely on to make our new software.
Long story short: in a bet on how many applications would be in the Marketplace on launch, he under-estimated. In turn, he lost his hair in a public event. Which he should have. Who under estimates? While you don't have to watch the whole video (nearly 13 mins), you can skip to the end for the good part. What can we say? We love seeing the dorky/geeky side of Microsoft and them having some fun. So should you.
One of the premier features of Windows Phone 7 is the integration of Xbox Live. Without a doubt, the quality of games offered by such a popular platform as well as the social aspects that Xbox live offers are light-years ahead of where we were with Windows Mobile 6.5. One of the first Xbox live games that we saw demonstrated (remember MIX?) was The Harvest from Microsoft Game Studios.