Those who never plan on getting an Xbox because you "don't game"
This post is for #1 and #2--we're cool. As for you number three'ers, you're dead to me, feel free to scroll down and read another blog entry.
Anyways, it costs something like $49.99 for the Gold membership, which allows access to all the cool online stuff, gaming, online multiplayer, Netflix, Last.FM, etc. (For those who don't have one, the Xbox is just as much a media center as a gaming machine--my usage for instance is probably 70% media e.g. Netflix/TV torrents, 30% actual gaming, usually Star Wars related.)
While not a bad deal, it's going up on November 1st to $59.99, which seems to be a curious time right when a certain mobile OS launches and Microsoft will see an influx of new customers. Oh and that Kinect thing is launching too.
The good news is that you can renew now for $39.99 to tap in that extra year and save 30%, which we suppose is a good deal (unless you membership just auto-renewed like 2 weeks ago, grrr).
File under: Possibly interesting for a slow news day, we suppose
Starting the first week of October, Microsoft will start accepting applications into the Windows Phone Marketplace for review, presumably for that late October release.
We've seen what the store looks like already and we know about those Xbox LIVE games, but for those who really want the details, the full list of app categories has been finalized.
In a lot of ways, this is just obvious stuff but for those of us who are itching to try the new system and see how it all works, we'll take all we can get.
See the full list after the jump. There are 41 categories/subcategories total, making it pretty exhaustive. The best part is we can easily expect a few hundred apps on launch to fill the store, making this list quite more than wishful thinking (unlike the current Windows Mobile Marketplace, ahem).
AT&T and HTC have released an official update for the AT&T Tilt2. We saw an "unofficial" version surface back in July and our initial impressions were good. The leaked ROM had a little more bounce in its step.
The official update includes Sense 2.5, the ability to format the SD Card from the phone, and an assortment of hotfixes. The official version of the updated ROM is 2.10.502.4.
We're in the process of downloading the 226mb update and will be able to tell later today if it shares the same pep that the leaked version did. If you've already downloaded and installed this ROM, feel free to share your impressions in the comments section.
Just remember, when updating your Windows Phone ROM the update wipes your phone clean and data backups are strongly recommended before you proceed.
You can find the official update here. A tip of the hat goes out to mvierling for alerting us to this update through our tip line.
In an interesting and somewhat unexpected decision, Intel has gone ahead and reportedly bought mobile-chip maker Infineon for $1.4 billion. Infineon makes mobile chips for all sorts of devices, including mobile phones. The latter business they got into after buying up LSI Corporation in 2007, with the Samsung Galaxy S series featuring their work.
The deal will let Intel use Infineon's mobile tech in "...Core processor-based laptops, and myriad of Intel Atom processor-based devices, including smartphones, netbooks, tablets and embedded computers". In addition, we can see Intel strengthening their "Wi-Fi and 4G WiMAX offerings".
Of course, all of this is sort of funny knowing that Intel sold off their mobile division only a few years ago to Marvel for $600 million--while not 100% the same business, certainly Marvel and Infineon overlap quite a bit.
We've mentioned in the past about 'Orion', the geolocation service/API for Windows Phone 7 which allows developers access to many forms of locating the phone's location extremely quickly.
Now that same service looks to be leveraged, eventually, for gaming.
Makes sense to us. Such a feature could be used to unlock levels or weapons by requiring the user to be at a certain location or establishment. Going further, the level-up could be time-constrained, requiring the player to be at a certain place, at a certain time.
Of course with our corporate overlords, we could also imagine commercially sponsored games by chain-stores, such as coffee shops or your local Best Buy. We're not too sure about the 'coolness' of the latter as we can't think of any hip corporate-branded games, but the potential at least exists.
Finally, the potential to leverage such geolocation gaming could result in 'flash mobs', at least according to Microsoft's independent software vendor developer evangelist Paul Foster and OS and mobile product manager lead William Coleman, who in an interview detailed WP7s GPS potential. It should be noted that all of this is up to the developers to take advantage of and so far, only Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst uses such technology.
It appears that Microsoft will finally flip the switch and enable Exchance Activesync for Windows Live Hotmail. According to a ZDNet UK report, this feature will become active on August 30, 2010 allowing for contacts, calendar and hotmail to be synced with your Windows Live Account (some devices will be compatible with Task sync as well).
This will put Windows Live on an even playing field with Google, who has supported Activesync with Gmail, calendar, and contacts for some time. This will also give the new Windows Phone 7 a more complete connectivity package.
Indications are that in testing, Activesync was fast, simple and glitch free. It appears the server address for Activesync configuration will be m.hotmail.com but nothing official has been released.
So with the ability to sync contacts, appointments, and now email with Windows Live I wonder how many will switch over from Google?
Microsoft has a lot riding on the launch of Windows Phone 7. And it looks as if they're ready to put some serious cash to help insure its success.
According to Jonathan Goldberg, a telecommunications analyst at Deutsche Bank, Microsoft is prepared to fund initial marketing, development and manufacturing subsidies with as much as $400 million. Goldberg stated, “This is make-or-break for them. They need to do whatever it takes to stay in the game."
In a recent visit to Microsoft, Goldberg said company executives told him that along with carrier and manufacturing partners, Microsoft would likely spend billions in the first year for Windows Phone 7 marketing and development. While these numbers are high, Goldberg estimates that Verizon, Motorola and Google spent $100 million to market the Droid line of Android phones.
Microsoft will definitely have some ground to catch up in the smartphone market. Google's Android has gotten a healthy corner on the market releasing what seems to be a device every other week. Apple's "antenna gate" appears to have faded quickly into the sunset with the iPhone 4G sales not missing a beat.
But will $400 million do the trick? The obvious answer is, "if it's spent right." Windows Phone 7 preview units were well received so it is unlikely that the software will be a complete dud. The big three of WP7 manufacturers (HTC, Samsung, and LG) are working on a few, "not too shabby looking" devices, and software development is building up steam.
The funding will definitely help all of these efforts. Hopefully some of the funding will be left over to help the consumers at the cash register when the time comes to actually buy a Windows Phone 7.
HTC has yet another Windows Phone being presented to the FCC for approval. This time around, a nice yellow label details the HTC PC40100.
FCC documentation indicates the PC40100 is fitted with wifi and bluetooth connectivity and EDGE 850/1900 band (no 3G bands listed). At first thought, with the yellow label, this could be the HD Mini heading to U.S. market. However, without 3G bands, that's unlikely.
Could this be another Windows Phone 7 devices slated for European release this fall? If so, then you have to ask why send it to the FCC to begin with?
For all intents and purposes, MIX10 was the real coming out party for Windows Phone 7. That was the first time we really got an extensive look at the future of Windows Phone. One of my personal favorite moments from MIX10 was the quick look (tease is more like it) of what XNA was capable of with The Harvest. What we didn’t know at the time is that The Harvest is going to be one of XBOX Live titles from Microsoft Gaming Studios available at launch. Windows Phone UK has posted several videos showing off what the game is capable of and what we can expect from this third-person shooter. First impressions, this is an awfully good start; at least as good as anything available for iPhone or Android, if not better.
What do you think about The Harvest? How much gaming do you think you will do with your Windows Phone? Let us know in the comments. Videos are after the break.
Back in March at CTIA, we spotted the TerreStar Genus, a Windows Mobile 6.5.3 smartphone with 3G and satellite capability. We liked what we saw and apparently so did the FCC.
The Genus has received FCC's stamp of approval with AT&T compatible 850/1900 GSM. And even though it's running Windows Mobile 6.5.3 we still think it's a cool phone. It's not like every Windows Phone we see pass through the FCC talks to satellites.
So far, no rumors as to when, where or how the Genus will be available. At one point it was rumored to be headed to AT&T but there's no telling if that will hold true. Regardless, it will be nice to see the a Windows Mobile based satellite finally make it to market.