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.
For those of you excited about driving simulated race cars on a 4" screen, boy has EA Mobile made your day! They posted up a few screenshots of the upcoming Need for Speed: Undercover video game for Windows Phone 7, which works with Xbox Live as well.
And in case still photos don't do it for ya, you can watch a hands on video by Laptop Mag after the break.
In an interesting follow up to the "beware if you install more memory to WP7!" advice from Microsoft, AT&T seems to have no problem with you doing so. If you recall, in the article, the responsibility was basically passed off to the carriers if they want to "support" such behavior. Microsoft had said that many of the microSD cards out on the market were unreliable and therefore may cause problems.
Thanks for your interest in our new Windows Phone 7 devices. We are very excited as well about this great new experience being delivered on some very cool devices on the nation’s fastest network.
The devices will support the addition of up to a 32GB class 2 (or higher) microSD card. You need to insert the card before you power up the device the first time so that the operating system can map it as available memory to maximize its utilization. This is outlined in the Quick Start Guide you receive in the box. I encourage you to read this before you launch the device the first time to have the best experience with a microSD card.
Thanks again for your interest. I hope you like it as much as I do. If you have a moment, please let me know your experience.
So there you go. The max (at this point) seems to be 32GB and AT&T has no issue with you doing this and in fact, they give you explicit instructions on how to go about doing it. Sounds good to us. Hopefully other carriers will take a more lenient approach. Though this still raises the question if there will be a "warranty void sticker" and if so, will AT&T still enforce that or not?
We've made mention that one way to prepare for Windows Phone 7 is to establish a Windows Live ID. If you times slipped by and you haven't created a Windows Live ID, don't worry. During the initial set-up of your Windows Phone 7 device, you're given the option to sign in with an existing Live ID, skip the step all together or create a Windows Live ID from your phone.
While some may opt to choose "not now" and skip the Windows Live ID all together, to make the most of Windows Phone 7 you really need the ID. As the screen shot mentions,
"To get apps, play games, use a Zune Pass, automatically sync Windows Live information to the web, and more, you need a Windows Live ID."
In establishing a Windows Live ID doesn't mean you can't use Google, Yahoo, or another Exchange Server for your email, contacts and calendar. It simply opens more doors for your Windows Phone to access.
While we're a little over a week away from Windows Phone 7 devices hitting the shelves in the U.S., we've gotten the opportunity to review the HTC Surround.
Scheduled to land on AT&T's shelves on November 8th, the Surround's first impressions was rather surprising. The phone felt good in the hand and was thinner than expected. I half expected the sliding speaker to add more thickness to the phone. The Surround makes such a strong first impression, I'm re-thinking my original choice for my Windows Phone 7 device.
We'll get a full review up shortly but in the meantime, we've put together a short un-boxing video to tide everyone over.
For you developer types out there, Microsoft has updated their Windows Phone 7 Application Certification Requirements. The long and the short of it is that Microsoft has a set of rules that all of the apps in the Marketplace must follow; this would be that set of rules. Most of the changes are of the "Revised" and "Updated" varieties, but it’s at least good to know that Microsoft is serious about making sure these apps are fit for public consumption.
Update: CNet's Ina Fried gives us some more details via the Beyond Binary blog. It looks like at least a portion of these updates are focused toward applications that need to run while the screen is off. This quote from the CNet post gives you the jist...
Until now, applications that wanted to run when the screen was locked had to get the user's explicit permission. Under new rules announced on Friday, programs can do so without permission--provided they first demonstrate to Microsoft that they only use a reasonable amount of battery life (allowing more than six hours of use for an app playing audio and more than 120 hours for a program that does not play audio).
One area that I’m actually surprised that it hasn’t received more time under the microscope is Internet Explorer. There has been some traffic among the developer community as of late around the fact that Microsoft has neglected support for HTML5 in Windows Phone 7, but how much of a problem is this to Microsoft and to Windows Phone 7 in particular? Read on for my opinion.
Looks like all of those Microsoft execs also have a digital doppelganger as evidenced by the above shot taken from the Microsoft site. We imagine this is anticipation of the Kinect launch coming up next week. Speaking of, we're still deciding if we should replace our old xbox and get the whole new Xbox 360s + Kinect kit or just buy Kinect. Decisions!
Anyways, take a look at all the listings with the link below. And take a look at our Xbox + WP7 primer over here, well worth the read if you're a n00b.
We’ve spoken ad nauseum about the emphasis that Microsoft has put on developers (developers, developers) for Windows Phone 7. That trend continues with Microsoft Press offering free downloads of the now finalized Programming Windows Phone 7 Ebook. Written by accomplished author/developer Charles Petzold, the book takes you through all of the steps for creating applications for Windows Phone 7.
The question of expandable storage for Windows Phone 7 devices has been going back and forth ever since the OS was announced. Originally we were told that there would be no expandable storage. Once hardware rumors started rolling out we were puzzled by the included micro-SD card slots. At the Windows Phone 7 Launch, the Samsung Focus was out in broad daylight showing off its expandable storage via micro-SD. Even HTC’s HD7 is in on the secret, though the card is harder to get access to.
We get a little more clarification this morning courtesy of Paul Thurrott of the Windows Supersite (and the upcoming book: Windows Phone Secrets). According to Thurrott, the micro-SD expansion capability isn’t officially supported by Microsoft, but is a carrier option. He adds that this was never intended to be something that a user does on their own, and that there are technical reasons why you shouldn’t just drop any random memory card in your phone. Apparently using low quality micro-SD cards can lead to major performance and stability issues.
The recommendation from Microsoft’s Charlie Kindel is to have this done by your carrier and there is a very good reason for this. This is something that the carriers are supporting; so if there is a problem, you should be able to get it taken care of by your carrier.
Does this make you think twice about getting a device like the Samsung Focus? Give us your thoughts in the comments.
Not everyone is happy with the Windows Phone Marketplace. Someone at Reddit (hello 'rage comics', my favorite other time killer) is lamenting the overabundance of "non apps" in the Marketplace Tools section. As noted in the image, there seems to be quite a bit of...the same thing? Echoing similar statements, writer for ZDnet, Noikia Experts and friend of the site Matt Miller noted last night in a tweet: "Appears to be maybe 50 decent apps and 950+ crap ones in WP7 Marketplace. Numbers aren't everything, let's pick up the quality please."
Question: even if Microsoft wanted to prevent this from happening, how would they go about doing it? Set a five "Tip calculator" rule? (And seriously, who actually uses a tip calculator?) Do you think the Windows Phone Market, despite promises, will become like Android's and Apple's with the majority of apps subpar? Or is this just the 1st wave of a new OS that will up the ante?
Looks like everyone is doing their Q4 reports this week. First was Microsoft and now HTC is reporting huge numbers this morning, including a whopping $3.3 billion in revenue and doubling the amount of phones shipped from 2009 to bring them to roughly 25 million total phones brought to market. Not to shabby for the OEM who went public about 3 years ago.
On top of the news, they expect Android to keep going strong and yes, those huge numbers are mostly Android related. They also see WP7 doing well but they had nothing significant to say on the matter outside of they saw "tremendous opportunities" for customers using the new OS. Plus launching five phones with the new OS shows certainly shows their commitment. They rival Samsung for #4 maker in the world, falling behind Nokia, RIM and Apple.
This post is for just my fellow 8 million or so New Yorkers who rely on the MTA for daily transportation, occasional napping and studies of human social behavior. Good news Everyone! Developers Presselite have made their 'New York Subway' app available in the Windows Phone Marketplace for a very fair $0.99.
The app is well known in the iPhone world, as it not only gives the MTA subway map, but shows the nearest station in relation to your current location, can plan a route (including estimated travel time) and it can even give MTA track updates (e.g. when repairs are being done, lines are shut down, etc.). All in all, it looks to take advantage of Bing, GPS and Metro UI quite effectively and makes for a great daily travel tool. Or we suppose if you're one of the millions of visitors, to which I say "You're walking to slow!"