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.
Starting today, Google is giving you the ability to call any phone from your computer through Gmail. All you need to do is download a plug-in app on to your computer and you can dial phone numbers straight from your Gmail screen.
Granted, if you have your Windows Phone with you, why would you bother using Gmail to make a call? Sure, you could have a weak signal at the house for your Windows Phone or you just don't want to get up from behind your computer to get your phone. Regardless, it's kinda neat to have the ability to place a call through Gmail.
Calls to the U.S. and Canada will be free for at least the rest of this year with calls to other countries being charged as little as $.02 a minute. If you have a Google Voice Number, calls made from Gmail will display this number as the outbound ID. You can also choose to receive incoming calls to your Google Voice Number through Gmail.
The new calling feature will be rolled out to Gmail users over the next few days and when active, you'll see a "Call Phone" feature listed under your chat column. You can get all the details at gmail.com/call
A leaked "end of life" list has surfaced from Verizon Wireless that takes every Windows Phones off Verizon's shelves.
According to the document the HTC Touch Pro 2 has seen it's last days (EOL 6/29/2010) while the HTC Imagio, Ozone and Samsung Omnia 2 have their days seriously numbered (EOL 3/31/2011). All of which essentially wipes Verizon's slate clean of all Windows Phones.
BBC News is an application being offered over at the Marketplace that is the product of one developer's frustration. Lawrence Gripper, the apps developer, states "I got really annoyed with all these iPhone and android users having their nice little news applications so I wrote one."
BBC News, as the name implies, allows you to browse the headlines from BBC News. The $2.99 app saves the articles and images locally to help speed things up. The interface is straight forward and simple in that all you have to do is tap a headline and the full story loads.
From the menu, you can filter stories by region (worldwide stories, UK, N. Ireland, Scotland, etc.) or topic (sports, politics, business, and health). Pages loaded promptly and I experienced no glitches, crashes or bugs in using the news app. BBC News reminded me of AP Mobile but focused on stories generated through BBC.
You have to admire the ingenuity of Lawrence Gripper for seeing a need and taking initiative to develop an app to meet those needs. If you find yourself needing to stay in tune with BBC headlines, BBC News is well worth considering. You can pick up a copy at the Marketplace and for a video demo of BBC News, just follow the break.
Water can be public enemy number one for Windows Phones, Bluetooth headsets and just about any electronic device. You can find plenty of waterproof bags for your Windows Phones but Bluetooth headsets aren't too effective when stowed away in a waterproof bag. Enter the Wavetooth IPX8 waterproof Bluetooth headset which is reportedly the first waterproof Bluetooth headset. We've seen water resistant headsets, like the Samsung WEP-430, but I can't remember a water proof headset.
The creation of Hong Kong inventor John Mak, the Wavetooth allows you to enjoy being around the water and stay connected to your Windows Phone. We've had a review unit for about a week now so ease on past the break to see how well this waterproof headset performed.
Since today is a slow news day on Windows Phone 7, many sites are posting this story from Phone Arena, which while interesting, really doesn't say anything new. But we have a feeling that regular folk are construing this to mean somewhere an LG C900 will be available at the end of September to actually purchase.
The Marketplace is not even taking submissions till first week of October
Microsoft is having their NYC Open House in late October
Did we mention October yet?
The launch of Windows Phone 7 will be a coordinated effort and we can't see AT&T or LG jumping the gun on Microsoft. However, there is no reason to doubt that the LG C900 will be ready to launch at the end of September, nor do we doubt HTC and Samsung will also have their hardware near finalized at that time either. All of this should be obvious as we are at the tale-end of the WP7 pre-launch.
In other words, Bluetooth SIG + LG ≠ internal-carrier release plans. So some perspective: First week of October = Microsoft unveiling Windows Phone 7, with devices becoming available soon after; November release dates for the U.S.
More than a few of us have high expectations for device manufacturers when it comes to hardware for Windows Phone 7. In particular, the manufacturers that are traditional Windows Mobile powerhouses such as Samsung and HTC have a very high bar set for them.
The hardware that we've seen leaked and rumored up to this point has been decent, but not quite up the lofty expectations that some of us have visualized. Other than the two LGdevices, everything seems to be very "black slab".
Finally though, HTC gives us some hardware that breaks the mold. The T8788 offers a landscape-slider form factor, though from pictures the only thing sliding is a large speaker. This speaker, in conjunction with the included kickstand, could make this a strong media device. If I were king of the world, I'd love to see the back of the device slide both ways; one to expose the speaker, the other to provide the hardware keyboard.
What do you guys think? Is this too radical of a form factor? Or is this just what the doctor ordered?
For those of you who live near Seattle or are planning on attending PAX 2010, you'll be glad to know Microsoft's Xbox LIVE and Windows Phone 7 will be present, at least according to Mike Klucher (Lead Program Manger - XNA Development Platform at Microsoft).
The popular gaming convention runs September 3rd-5th at the Washington State Convention Center and should be a lot of fun. Registration is $35 per day or $55 for all 3-days, but alas, only Sunday is left open for a badge. At this time, there doesn't appear to be a specific panel discussion of WP7 and XBLA, but we'll keep an eye out.
Regardless, we an expect some more hands-on and gaming footage in less than two-weeks time, which sounds good to us.